ATLANTA — Now that employees are ready to start moving into Mercedes-Benz USA's new $93 million headquarters here, the luxury automaker is making another investment in the Atlanta market.
This summer, parent Daimler AG will open a fourth office of Lab1886, its global incubator venture, in Atlanta, joining existing locations in Beijing, Berlin and Stuttgart. An executive said it is too early to share the planned investment amount or headcount information.
Axel Harries, vice president of product management and sales for Mercedes-Benz, said Lab1886 is dedicated to turning business ideas into new products and services. Its name refers to the year that Daimler's founders invented the first automobile.
Lab1886 combines a big corporation's know-how with the spirit of a startup, Harries said. It has a venture capital component to invest in new ideas. He announced the investment as part of a ceremony on Thursday celebrating the grand opening of Mercedes-Benz USA's headquarters in suburban Atlanta.
"Our industry is changing faster than ever," Harries said. "We are turning back into a startup, which is exactly what we were when we came up with the novel idea of the automobile."
The exact location for Lab1886 in metro Atlanta has yet to be finalized, but it will be separate from the U.S. sales and marketing office in Sandy Springs, said Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA.
Exler opened the 200,000-square-foot headquarters in a ceremony this morning attended by employees, dealers, community representatives and local dignitaries including Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. He gave rides to some of those politicians in a replica of that 1886 vehicle.
The opening comes just more than three years after Mercedes announced it would move its U.S. headquarters from Montvale, N.J., to Atlanta and more than two and a half years after about 200 employees moved to temporary offices here. Mercedes hired about 350 new employees in Atlanta.
Local employees will begin moving in this week. Exler said he finished packing up his nearby office last night and will start working in the new headquarters this afternoon.
The other Atlanta employees, nearly 600 in all, will move in phases over the next two months. Employees still in Montvale staffing the company's call center will move this summer. By fall, the total headquarters staff of about 1,000 employees will be back in one location for the first time since mid-2015.