UPDATE: It's official, Toyota has announced it is relocating its North American headquarters in Plano, Texas. See the full story here.
According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, Toyota is poised to announce Monday that it is restructuring its US operations, which may include plans to relocate some of its operations to Texas. Toyota Motor Sales has been located in California since 1957, and is responsible for North American sales, marketing, and distribution for Toyota, Lexus and Scion. According to Toyota literature, its Torrance operations presently employs 6,156 workers and represents a $2.3-billion investment.
Workers in Toyota's Torrance offices were abuzz about the possible relocation to Texas. One young offspring of a Toyota employee even posted to Twitter that her parents warned about the upcoming move, and she said she's refusing to go.
Rumors at one point had Toyota settling in Richardson, TX, just outside Plano. But Autoblog talked to Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka, who said she would be thrilled if that were true, but has not heard anything on the subject. Autoblog also emailed with Bill Sutherland, a city councilman in Torrance, CA, who said, "To date the only info I have is what I have read in the paper expecting a press release Monday."
If the automaker moves its operations to the Lone Star state, the transition is expected to take place in waves over two to three years. It is not immediately clear when the transition will begin, or if Toyota Financial Services also plans to relocate its operations – a division that employs a further 3,286 workers. It is also unknown how many employees will be offered assistance packages, should this move to Texas actually happen.
The reason for the potential relocation remains unclear, but a new address in Texas would likely bring with it major operational cost savings. It could also bring improved contact with its US manufacturing operations, which are increasingly located in the South, including major plants in Huntsville, AL; Blue Springs, MS and San Antonio, TX.
If the automaker moves its operations to the Lone Star state, the transition is expected to take place in waves over two to three years.
This would not be the first time an automaker has abandoned the Golden State to find cheaper real estate. Back in November of 2005, fellow Japanese automaker Nissan made a similar move, announcing plans to relocate its headquarters from Gardena, CA, to Nashville, TN, with CEO Carlos Ghosn admitting that a primary objective was to lower costs.
Jim Lentz, Toyota North America CEO, is expected to make an announcement to the staff in Torrance on Monday morning, possibly from a remote location.
Word of Toyota's move has come to Autoblog from multiple sources, including anonymous contacts within the corporation familiar with the matter. Autoblog has attempted to reach out to the company through multiple official channels, but has yet to hear back as of publication time. We will update this story when we learn more.