Mitsubishi Motors North America is moving from its home on Katella Avenue in Cypress to Nashville, Tenn., while opening a hub in Riverside that it will share with Nissan Motors. (Courtesy of MMNA)
Orange County Register - By Jack Katzanek | firstname.lastname@example.org |
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA), which has had its North American headquarters in Orange County for 31 years, is relocating the Southern California hub to Nashville, Tenn., joining a migration of Japanese automakers that have exited the Golden State for lower-cost Southern states.
The decision to move to Franklin, a suburb of Nashville, was based on lower operating costs in Tennessee, the company said Tuesday, June 25. Mitsubishi also wants to operate closer to Nissan North America and Renault, two of its operational partnerships that are also in Tennessee.
Nissan, which owns a 34% stake in Mitsubishi, relocated its domestic headquarters in 2006 to the Nashville area from Gardena.
Mitsubishi Motors North America, which settled in Cypress in 1988, employs nearly 200 people, with employees in marketing, IT, product design, finance, dealer operations and other fields. Most will be given a chance to relocate, the company said.
The relocation process to Franklin, Tenn., will start in August and be complete by year’s end, Mitsubishi said.
At the same the Japanese automaker is moving East, it’s building a parts distribution hub in Riverside’s Meridian Park in a partnership with Nissan USA. Jeremy Barnes, MMNA’s senior director of communications and events, said the facility is expected to open by the end of the year.
In a statement, Mitsubishi cited its partnership with Nissan and Renault and a need to bring the companies physically closer to cut costs in development and procurement. Also, it said the Nashville area offers strong technology skills and “cost savings through the business-friendly work environment.”
Barnes said in an interview that a major incentive was the absence of income tax in Tennessee. He also cited lower costs of living for workers, good schools and a mild climate that rivals that of Southern California.
“It’s just generally a very good business climate, in both Franklin and in the state of Tennessee,” Barnes said. He declined to discuss details of any financial incentives, citing confidentiality.