"Atlanta offers a critical mass of talent," said Tom Croteau, deputy commissioner for global commerce at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. "More than 10,000 new engineers graduate every year within a 250-mile radius of Atlanta, and a third of them come out of Georgia Tech.
"Many of the others move to Atlanta for the millennial lifestyle it offers. And that young, fresh thinking is the talent that a lot of companies are looking for."
It is a different story from the one that has dominated industry news in the South, where states have been attracting vehicle plants and supplier factories for decades.
Georgia's strategy has capitalized largely on Georgia Tech, the Atlanta university with 29,000 students.
Five years ago, General Motors picked suburban Atlanta as one of its four U.S. "innovation centers," where 1,000 workers would take over engineering work that GM previously outsourced.
More than 30 companies have opened innovation centers on the Georgia Tech campus, according to the university. Those include Siemens' new Data Analytics and Applications Center, established last year to develop new ways to apply big data to transportation operations and vehicle safety.
Panasonic Automotive Systems opened an innovation center on the campus to work on connected cars and vehicle software development.
Honeywell last year invested $19 million in an Atlanta innovation center in which more than 800 people focus on new approaches to cloud computing and data analytics.
In addition to PSA Group, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have North American headquarters in Atlanta. This year, BMW is completing construction of a $16.6 million technician training center adjacent to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The automaker expects to move 10,000 BMW dealership technicians a year through the center when it is completed, with a large BMW logo on the roof that will be visible to planes landing at Hartsfield-Jackson.