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November 10, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: USA: Nissan North America expected to announce headquarters move

Nissan North America has scheduled a press conference at the Tennessee state capitol building for later on Thursday.

Nissan North America has scheduled a press conference at the Tennessee state capitol building for later on Thursday.

According to industry newspaper Automotive News, the company won’t comment, but the subject is believed to be whether Nissan will move its headquarters from Gardena [Los Angeles], California, to Tennessee.

Separately, the Associated Press reported the move would put the company’s North American headquarters in the same state where it has a major assembly plant – its manufacturing headquarters is in Smyrna, where it also assembles five models, and it has an engine plant in Decherd. The company employs more than 7,000 people in Tennessee.

Nissan North America spokesman Fred Standish told Automotive News on Thursday morning US time that the automaker won’t comment on the subject until it meets with employees – a meeting was also scheduled for Thursday.

The paper noted that the proposed relocation has generated much internal turmoil at Nissan over the past two months, and that Nissan Motor CEO Carlos Ghosn heard final arguments for and against the move at the company’s regular monthly business meeting in South Carolina, this week. Nissan has about 1,300 employees in Gardena, most of them in sales and marketing, Automotive News added.

A company official told AP Ghosn was scheduled to attend the news conference.

The news agency said the Tennessean and Los Angeles Times newspapers, citing several unnamed sources inside and outside the company, reported last week that Nissan was planning to announce its move from Gardena to Williamson County, a fast-growing suburb south of Nashville.

State and county officials in Tennessee have not confirmed those reports, but Gov. Phil Bredesen has said Tennessee was trying to attract Nissan, The Associated Press noted.

AP added that industry observers have said Nissan may be moving to save money. A relocation to the Nashville area would allow the company to take advantage of favourable tax incentives and low cost of living [the Los Angeles region is one of the most expensive areas for housing in the US].

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