Toyota is leaving its current U.S. headquarters in Torrance, California, for its new home in Plano, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The move is part of a large-scale restructuring, as it plans to consolidate much of its North American marketing operations at the new headquarters.Reuters reports:
Toyota is the largest employer in Torrance, accounting for more than 5 percent of all jobs in the city with 3,837 workers in 2013, according to the city’s annual financial report. About 2,000 people from Toyota Motor Sales in Torrance will be affected by the move, and about 4,000 U.S. employees in all, the company said. […]Toyota’s decision also means all three of the major Japanese carmakers will have stepped back from the state where they first got their footholds in the United States. Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) in 2006 moved most of its operations from Gardena, California, to Franklin, Tennessee, outside Nashville. Last year, Honda Motor Co (7267.T) decided to move a number of executives from Torrance to Columbus, Ohio.[Texas Governor Rick] Perry has made luring businesses from other states a priority, making personal recruiting trips to sell what the Republican touts as a superior business climate, particularly lower taxes. California and New York State, both with Democratic governors, have been particular targets for the effort.Toyota’s chief executive for North America, Jim Lentz, said Perry had no role in Toyota’s decision to move.
The move will also be a blow for the job market in Los Angeles, of which Torrance is a suburb. L.A. has persistently high unemployment and already trails the rest of the country in job creation. Recently, a commission of city leaders charged with finding solutions to the city’s ongoing problems failed to come up with any big ideas.Even if Rick Perry didn’t have a hand in this deal, Toyota must have been attracted by the business-friendly environment and low cost of living in Texas. California has been steadily losing business to surrounding states, but the flight of Toyota, with its progressive street cred, is an indication of just how bad things are.