What could this mean for the future?
A few years ago, the Renault-Nissan Alliance added Mitsubishi, giving the French and Japanese automakers access to the automaker's plug-in hybrid technology. But in the three years since Mitsubishi has been part of the Alliance, there haven't been any major product collaborations with Nissan or Renault. Mitsubishi is not planning to leave the US market any time soon, but in order to survive, the small automaker needs to introduce new products.
Before Mitsubishi follows through with any new model releases, the company needs to change its corporate structure. Part of the restructuring includes the relocation of company headquarters from Cypress, California, to Franklin, Tennessee outside of Nashville. The move will put Mitsubishi close its Alliance partner, Nissan.
"Mitsubishi Motors is changing the way we go to market in the United States, and it is leading to a rebirth of the company," said Fred Diaz, Mitsubishi Motors North America president and chief executive officer. "This is an exciting time for us, with a refreshed leadership team, new-look dealerships and redesigned and all-new vehicles. 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."
Around 200 people currently work in the Cyprus office and most will be moved to Tennessee. Mitsubishi says its other facilities in the US, such as the R&D operations in Ann Arbor, Michigan and MRDA government relations operations in Washington DC, will not be affected by the move.
Mitsubishi has seen six straight years of annual sales gains with over 100,000 sales for the past two years. Moving to Tennessee should help strengthen the bond between Mitsubishi and Nissan as the two companies work to co-develop new models like a long-awaited replacement for the Frontier.