California’s loss, yikes:
—a corporate HQ for a multinational company
—3,000 jobs in marketing and finance
—2-million-sqft office complex, orphaned
—$473 million in property taxes
—A 57-year corporate citizen of Southern California
—2 international car manufacturers in less than 10 years
The shift, announced Monday, is part of a strategy to consolidate corporate management on one campus near the company’s Southern manufacturing hubs. It marks the second high-profile move of a major automaker from Southern California. Nissan moved its U.S. headquarters from Gardena to a Nashville suburb in 2006.
Some observers and California officials seized on the announcement to criticize what they said is California’s business climate for high taxes and onerous regulations. But Toyota officials said the move to a Dallas suburb had nothing to do with cost-cutting and everything to do with fostering efficiency and collaboration.
Frank Scotto, Torrance’s mayor, said he had no warning of Toyota’s decision. He said he did know that the automaker planned a corporate announcement for Monday.
“When any major corporation is courted by another state, it’s very difficult to combat that,” Scotto said. “We don’t have the tools we need to keep major corporations here.”
The mayor said businesses bear higher costs in California for workers’ compensation and liability insurance, among other expenses.
“A company can easily see where it would benefit by relocating someplace else,” Scotto said.
Toyota is offering all the employees in Torrance the opportunity to move to Plano, Texas and keep their jobs, with a visit and relocation paid for by the company. The company, of course, doesn’t want to trumpet the financial benefits of a move even while it seems to be offering generous terms to its employees caught up in the change. Instead, it claims the move is to increase efficiency by putting its headquarters where 75 percent of its vehicles are made— in the South. And, why pray tell, are 75 percent of their cars made in the South?
As the L.A. Times noted when reporting this story, that’s a pretty significant regional shift over the past 60 years:
The U.S. branch picked Los Angeles for its first headquarters because of proximity to the port complex — where it imported cars — and easy airline access to Tokyo. As Toyota grew, it opened its national sales and marketing headquarters in Torrance in 1982. The complex, built where its parts distribution warehouse was once located, now has 2 million square feet of office space.
But today, about 75% of the Toyota branded vehicles sold in the U.S. are built in America — many of them at plants in Texas, Mississippi and Kentucky.
Whatever could it be that’s bringing this part of the country? Hint: It ain’t just Rick Perry’s smile.