As Mercedes-Benz USA seeks to rename a street for itself in its new hometown of Sandy Springs, its old hometown in New Jersey is planning to strip the brand from its own “Mercedes Drive.”
MBUSA goes before the Sandy Springs City Council tonight, March 7, for the controversial renaming of part of Barfield Road, which is opposed by a neighboring Mormon temple and Barfield family members. MBUSA says that naming streets for itself is a company “tradition” going back 40 years.
That tradition began in 1972 in Montvale, N.J., where the German carmaker’s North American headquarters was established. Montvale was not happy to lose MBUSA to Georgia in 2015 in a tax-incentive-laden deal. The serious impacts were loss of jobs and community donations, but a visible sore spot was the carmaker’s brand name remaining on a city street.
Among the buildings on that street is Montvale’s own city hall complex, which still gets mail as 12 Mercedes Drive. Well, at least for now.
“We have not renamed it yet, but we will in due time,” Montvale Mayor Mike Ghassali said in an email when asked about his town’s Mercedes Drive.
Ghassali said there is not yet an official list of alternative names. Former Mayor Roger Fyfe last year said that some suggestions included “Wegmans Way” for a new supermarket, and, in a reverse of the Sandy Springs situation, “DePiero Road,” in honor of a family that sold its century-old farm to MBUSA for its headquarters 40 years ago. Barfield Road is also named for an old farming family.