ATLANTA (Bloomberg) -- Jaguar Land Rover executives met Georgia Governor Nathan Deal last month to discuss opening a factory in his state, a U.S. newspaper reported.
Merry Hunter Hipp, a spokeswoman for the governor, said the Deal "made prospect calls" while on an economic development trip to England, where he also visited Pinewood Studios, which has a facility near Atlanta.
She declined to comment on the reported meeting with Jaguar Land Rover. "We do not discuss the calls due to the sensitive nature of these ongoing business communications," Hipp said in an email.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the meeting, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the matter.
In October, the UK's Sunday Times said Jaguar Land Rover is talking with several southern U.S. states about financial support for a factory that would eventually produce 200,000 vehicles a year.
A U.S. plant would enable JLR to avoid import tariffs and reduce averse effects of fluctuating currency rates, the paper said.
Jaguar Land Rover opened a new plant in China last year and plans to open a factory in Brazil in 2016. The UK luxury carmaker has expanded its product lineup and global presence since Tata Motors bought the company from Ford Motor in 2008.
The U.S. South's importance to the auto industry is increasing.
Mercedes-Benz USA, which has a plant in Alabama, is moving its headquarters to the Atlanta region from Montvale, New Jersey. BMW, Kia Motors and Volkswagen have factories in the region. Porsche has its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report