Mitsubishi Motors to relocate North America HQ to Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mitsubishi Motors today it is relocating its North America headquarters from California to Tennessee, a move that will bring the Japanese automaker closer to its sister company Nissan and strengthen Tennessee's growing reputation as an epicenter of the automotive sector.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe – who made the announcement with Mitsubishi Motors North America – say the headquarters move from Cypress, Calif., to Franklin, Tenn., will result in an $18.25 million investment in the region and approximately 200 jobs.

Lee and Rolfe added they met with Mitsubishi's global executives last week to convince them to move to Tennessee while in Japan during the Republican governor's first trade mission. It is unclear what financial incentives state officials offered Mitsubishi to move to Tennessee.

"As we drive toward the future, this is the perfect time for us to move to a new home. While we say farewell to the Golden State with a heavy heart, we're excited to say hello to Music City," Fred Diaz, Mitsubishi Motors North America's president and CEO, said in a statement.

Franklin is located just south of Nashville, also known as "Music City," and is home to the state's most powerful Republicans, ranging from Gov. Lee, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn and House Speaker Glen Casada.

Mitsubishi's relocation announcement is the latest move in an industry that has found a warm reception in recent years in the American South, where politicians tend to take a dim view of labor unions and aggressive regulation.

"Over the years, Tennessee has become the epicenter of the Southeast's thriving automotive sector, and I'm proud Mitsubishi Motors will call Franklin its U.S. home and bring 200 high-quality jobs to Middle Tennessee," Lee, who took over the office this year, said in a statement.

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