Mitsubishi dealers, who are being added nearly every month, expect sales to increase as the brand trades its aging mechanicals for modern platforms shared with Nissan, its closest partner in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance since the two Japanese brands sell vehicles in the U.S. and Renault does not.
Mitsubishi is already operating out of temporary office space in Franklin, just across Interstate 65 from Nissan's North American headquarters. Next year, the redesigned Nissan Rogue and Mitsubishi Outlander crossovers will share an alliance platform, the companies have said, as will future Mitsubishi products.
Barnes said about 10 employees have made the move permanently to Franklin so far, and others are in the process. Workers will move out of California in small waves each month until all have relocated. The Cypress campus will be handed over to its new owner at the end of the year.
Negotiations on the long-term office space are underway, Barnes said, and the move there should take place by April 1, which is the beginning of the company's fiscal year.
Like previous relocations of Asian automakers from California — Nissan in 2006 and Toyota to a Dallas suburb in 2017 — Mitsubishi's move opens new possibilities for the company and for employees who are willing to trade pricey but pleasant beach communities for harsher but cheaper climates.
"I've lived here 40 years," said Barnes. "I was 11 when my parents moved from London to San Diego. So, I've spent fundamentally my whole life in Southern California. And I'm super excited about the opportunity to make the move, and I'm completely in on the adventure and completely in on helping be a part of the future at Mitsubishi."