With Toyota set to relocate its North American headquarters to the Dallas, TX suburb of Plano following a top-secret, 100-city search, the cities that missed out can now begin asking themselves what happened during a process they apparently knew little about.

That's a particularly brutal task for Charlotte, which, according to North Carolina's Secretary of Commerce, Sharon Decker, finished second to Plano. While Toyota has been fairly open about what it was looking for in a new headquarters city – direct flights to Japan, proximity to its US production facilities, a lower cost of living, high-quality educational facilities and finding a neutral site suitable to the California, Kentucky and New York-based employees that would be relocated – it's been less open about how the finalist cities, which also included Atlanta and Denver, stacked up against each other.

The Charlotte Observer has a few ideas. Part of the problem is the distinct lack of direct flights between Charlotte and Asia. US Airways, which operates a hub at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, doesn't fly to Asia.

Toyota, for its part, seems to be placing most of the blame on location.

"With manufacturing locations in many US states, Canada and Mexico, we chose a location that better supports our diverse geographic footprint, in a time zone that allows us to communicate better with most of our operations, and has direct flights to all our North American operations and Japan," Mike Michels, Toyota's VP of product communications, told The Observer via email.

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