Toyota Relocates to North Texas
On April 28, 2014, Toyota Motor North America announced it intended to move from California and make its new North American home in Plano, Texas, on a 100-acre, custom-built campus, allowing the automaker to fulfill its vision of “One Toyota.” The new headquarters brought together many of its operations
throughout the U.S., into one location that opened in July of 2017.
In its move 1,435 miles away from Torrance, California, Toyota persuaded 70 percent of its corporate workforce to relocate to DFW. That level of participation was unusually high for a corporate move, which typically causes half or more of employees to leave their jobs. Even Toyota had originally estimated that it would lose a large percent of its employees in the move, an outcome that would have triggered the need for massive retraining.
A central location with a good quality of life and a reasonable cost of living was key to Toyota’s decision to make North Texas home. Such a large relocation of employees -- 3,000 Toyota employees ultimately chose to relocate to Dallas/Fort Worth — required a large available inventory of homes. And North Texas had ample housing available.
Jim Lentz, retired CEO of Toyota Motor North America, described to Automotive News the reasons why North Texas won the relocation: “"People have choice living here," said Lentz, who was one of the first 50 employees to move to the Dallas area in 2014. "If you draw a 30-minute radius, you can be living on a lake, you can have a ranch with horses, you can be uptown, you can be in the suburbs; it really gave people a choice. That's unique to this area. It's really worked out well."
Lentz detailed that North Texas beat out number-two Charlotte and number-three Atlanta for the relocation. Housing availability, logistics and quality of life were the top three deciding factors in the decision of where to relocate.
When asked if there was any part of the move that Toyota might have done differently, Lentz was calm and confident.
"Yes," he said. "We should have done it 10 years earlier."