Mercedes HQ motoring over to Atlanta

Mercedes-Benz is moving its U.S. headquarters to nearby Atlanta.

German luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz is moving its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey to Atlanta, in part to be closer to its manufacturing facility in Alabama.

The decision comes after weeks of lobbying - some of it public - by New Jersey officials who sought to keep the company in Montvale, at a campus that's about a five-minute drive from BMW's North American headquarters.

About 1,000 jobs are to be moved starting in July. The company said Tuesday it will move first to a temporary facility in Atlanta before moving into a new space in about two years.

The company said some operational areas will remain in Montvale and Robbinsville, N.J

Some New Jersey officials, including Gov. Chris Christie, say the state's high taxes are a major factor for businesses and wealthy individuals moving away.

The state has been trying to counteract that with its new system of incentives. In 2014, it promised more than $2 billion in future tax breaks to companies moving to or remaining in the state. That's more than it promised from 1996 through 2009 combined.

New Jersey could have offered Mercedez-Benz up to $15 million to stay just from one incentive aimed at car companies' U.S. headquarters.

Under New Jersey's incentives last year, Subaru of America agreed to stay in New Jersey, and the Philadelphia 76ers announced plans to move their offices and practice facility to Camden, N.J., while continuing to play in Philadelphia, a short drive away.

But the state has lost some major businesses to the South: Car rental giant The Hertz Corp. is moving to Estero, Fla., with the help of $85 million in tax breaks, and Bubble Wrap maker Sealed Air Corp. is moving to Charlotte with the aid of $35 million in breaks.

Cannon said the company will benefit by being closer to its growing base of customers in the Southeast as well as its port in Brunswick, Ga., and its manufacturing facility in Alabama.

The company said it would announce more details later in January.

Mercedes is owned by Germany's Daimler AG, which assembles Mercedes-Benz Sprinter cargo vans for the North American market at a factory off of Ladson Road in North Charleston.

The Post and Courier contributed to this report.