TORRANCE, Calif. (WWJ) – Toyota’s decision to build a new headquarter near Dallas, means an expansion of its Technical Center near Ann Arbor.

Toyota will consolidate manufacturing, sales and marketing and corporate operations into a new facility to be built in Plano, Texas. But, as part of that move, about 250 workers will be transferred to the Technical Center, which will see an expansion. Toyota says that center will play an even larger part in the company’s product development operations.

“With our major North American business affiliates and leaders together in one location for the first time, we will be better equipped to speed decision making, share best practices, and leverage the combined strength of our employees,” said Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz. “This, in turn, will strengthen our ability to put customers first and to continue making great products that exceed their expectations. Ultimately, enabling greater collaboration and efficiencies across Toyota will help us become a more dynamic, innovative and successful organization in North America.”

Toyota’s headquarters has been in Torrance, California, just outside Los Angeles, since the company began doing business in North America in the late 1950’s.

“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.”

Toyota says it will move small groups of employees to Texas at first. It expects to break ground for what it calls a “new, enviornmentally-sustainable campus” later this year, with construction finished in 2017.

The company also plans to build a new facility on its Technical Center campus here in Michigan, subject to final approval of state and local incentives. Toyota’s also building a new facility at its Georgetown, Kentucky plant to accommodate about 300 engineers.

Lentz said it made sense to consolidate most of Toyota’s engineering work in South East Michigan.

“It’s where the action is,” he said. “It’s where the quality engineers come from. It’s definitely a place where we want to be now, and well into the future.”

Ann Arbor was even considered as a possible headquarters location. Lentz said it worked for engineering, but not for sales and marketing.

“I don’t necessarily want to be in the back yard of the big three. I don’t think that made a lot of sense.”

Toyota will continue have about 2000 workers in California, but most of the operation in Torrance will be phased out.

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