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Toyota To Move Its U.S. Headquarters To Plano

Toyota is moving its U.S. headquarters from California to Plano.

The Japanese automaker announced the move Monday.

Toyota says the new headquarters will bring together employees who are now scattered around the country. It will break ground on a new headquarters in North Texas this year.

The move consolidates three separate headquarters in California, Kentucky and New York. Small groups will start working in Plano this summer, but the majority of employees won’t move until headquarters are finished in late 2016 or early 2017.

Toyota will offer relocation packages to the 1,000 employees who work at its headquarters in Torrance, California, The Associated Press reports. Toyota opened the Torrance facility in 1982.

In a statement, Toyota said the move is “designed to better serve customers and position Toyota for sustainable, long-term growth.”

The release also said:

Within the next three years, Toyota’s three separate North American headquarters for manufacturing, sales and marketing, and corporate operations will relocate to a single, state-of-the-art campus in Plano.  Toyota’s North American finance arm also plans to move its headquarters to this new shared campus.  Altogether, these moves will affect approximately 4,000 employees. … Toyota will construct a new, environmentally-sustainable campus facility in Plano, which is expected to take two or more years to construct after groundbreaking in the fall of 2014.  Until the new campus facility is complete, initial small groups of employees will work from a temporary location in the Plano area.

Gov. Rick Perry released a statement:

The more than $300 million capital investment is expected to employ nearly 4,000 people upon completion, and compliments the company's existing Texas operations. In exchange for Toyota's commitment to create these new jobs and capital investment in Texas, the state has offered Toyota an investment of $40 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund. ... Toyota's Texas operations include its $2.3 billion manufacturing facility in San Antonio which supports 2,900 jobs. Combined with its 21 on-site suppliers, Toyota supports 6,000 jobs in San Antonio. The company cited a number of factors in choosing a location for its new headquarters, including the TEF investment, Texas' low taxes, smart regulations, fair courts and skilled workforce as factors in its decision.

The Dallas Morning News reportson a potential location for Toyota:

Developers and brokers say the plan is for Toyota to build offices with 1 million to 1.5 million square feet — about the amount of office space that’s in a downtown Dallas skyscraper. Brokers say the company has zeroed in on a location adjacent to J.C. Penney’s corporate headquarters near the southwest corner of the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121. ... The planned Toyota campus would be almost as big as State Farm Insurance’s huge regional office under construction in Richardson. It would be the largest such out-of-state move to Legacy business park since J.C. Penney relocated from Manhattan to Plano in the 1980s.

Forbes explains why it makes sensefor Toyota to leave California:

Texas has scored one of the biggest prizes so far in its very focused, state-on-state battle with the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown to get plum companies now headquartered in California to abandon the bluest state for the reddest one. Clearly, [Texas Gov. Rick] Perry caressed a trump card in the fact that Toyota has enjoyed a deep relationship with Texas through its $2.2-billion truck-assembly complex near San Antonio. Plus, the fact is that, as Toyota has become a more U.S.-centric company with important assets all over the country, it makes sense for the Japanese market leader to distribute its operations in a new way. Toyota’s 14 North American manufacturing facilities now build 71 percent of the vehicles the company sells in the United States, up from 55 percent in 2008.

The Los Angeles Times reports on Toyota's "Southern strategy:"

Toyota has long been a fixture of Southern California, having opened its first office in an old Rambler dealership in Hollywood back in 1957. But as the company started to build and operate factories in the U.S., it shifted its focus south. It closed its sole California factory in 2010. Now its primary factories are in Kentucky, where it builds the Camry and Avalon; Mississippi, where it builds the Corolla; and Texas, where it builds Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks. It also has a big engine plant in Alabama. “They feel their future is in Dixie,” said James Rubenstein, an auto industry analyst and geography professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Although the company is successful selling passenger cars in the U.S., it has never gained the traction in the truck market it had hoped for, Rubenstein said. Toyota’s sales are also too heavily weighted to women, he added. “Texas is the most male, macho state in the country,” Rubenstein said. “Texas is where they think they can learn more about what big truck buyers want in their vehicles.”


Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.