by WFAA / DALLAS
PLANO -- Toyota announced plans Monday to move the auto maker's headquarters to Plano from its current location in Southern California.
A press release formally announcing the move said it is "designed to better serve customers and position Toyota for sustainable, long-term growth."
Toyota will move its North American headquarters for manufacturing, sales and marketing, and corporate operations to a single, "state-of-the-art" campus in Plano over the next three years, according to the release.
The new campus will bring together approximately 4,000 employees from sales, marketing, engineering, manufacturing and finance who are now scattered around the country. That includes 2,000 employees at the current headquarters in Torrance, Calif.; 1,000 employees at Toyota's engineering and manufacturing center in Erlanger, Ky.; and 1,000 employees at Toyota Financial Services.
The transition will begin "with initial small groups this summer," though the release notes the majority of the employees will not move until construction of the company's new headquarters is completed in late 2016 or early 2017. Groundbreaking will begin on the environmentally-sustainable headquarters this fall.
"This is the most significant change we’ve made to our North American operations in the past 50 years, and we are excited for what the future holds,” said Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz.
With its worldwide headquarters in Japan, Toyota has operated in the U.S. for more than 50 years from Southern California. Most of the employees affected by the move work on a sprawling campus in Torrance.
Toyota said it will continue to have about 2,300 employees in California and 8,200 employees in Kentucky after the moves are complete. Toyota makes the Avalon and Camry sedans in Kentucky.
The company will also maintain offices in New York and Washington. Plants in Mississippi, Texas and Indiana aren't affected by the moves.
Toyota sold 2.2 million cars and trucks in the U.S. last year.