Daimler North America moving headquarters to Michigan

Michael Martinez, and Daniel Howes
Mercedes cars are presented by CEO of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Dieter Zetsche at a press day ahead of the Frankfurt Auto Show IAA in Frankfurt.

Eight years after its parent company unceremoniously dumped Chrysler Group, Daimler North America Corp. said Wednesday it will move its headquarters to Michigan from New Jersey.

The move will bring 30 new or relocated jobs to Michigan, augmenting a presence that includes the Mercedes-Benz Financial Services headquarters in Farmington Hills, Detroit Diesel in Redford Township, and Mercedes-Benz Research and Development in Redford and Ann Arbor.

Andrea Berg, a Daimler spokeswoman, said the headquarters will be at the company’s already-existing facility in Farmington Hills and the 30 workers will make the move starting next year.

Gov. Rick Snyder made the announcement after meeting with Daimler executives at the Frankfurt International Auto show, where the state’s chief executive met with more than 60 suppliers with their U.S. headquarters — or potential interest — in Michigan.

“There’s been a significant improvement in terms of the feedback we’re getting because people know us better,” Snyder told The Detroit News in an interview from the Frankfurt show. Seventy-five percent of the automotive research and development in the United States occurs in Michigan, and 63 of the top 100 suppliers are based here.

“Michigan is the world’s automotive leader, and Daimler’s decision to increase its presence in the state is another indication that we intend to hold that position for generations to come,” Snyder said in a statement. “This company has long been a valued member of our business community. Michigan is leading the United States in creating new auto jobs and our leadership extends across all parts of the industry — manufacturing, R&D, engineering and technology development.”

Daimler North America is the holding company for all of Daimler AG’s business units in the United States. Its corporate predecessor, DaimlerChrysler AG, acquired the Auburn Hills-based automaker in 1997 with the intention of building a global, multi-brand automaker to compete with Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., to name three.

A decade later, it abruptly sold Detroit’s No. 3 automaker to Cerberus Capital Management LP amid recriminations and blame. The new private-equity firm’s principals renamed the company Chrysler LLC, their leadership culminating in a historic bankruptcy and new partnership with Italy’s Fiat SpA.

Still, the consolidation of Daimler’s business under a Michigan headquarters — not including operations of Atlanta-based Mercedes-Benz USA — underscores Michigan’s strengthening image as the place to do automotive business.