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Toyota to move U.S. sales HQ to Texas from California

A Toyota logo is seen on a car inside a showroom at a Toyota dealership in Warsaw April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
A Toyota logo is seen on a car inside a showroom at a Toyota dealership in Warsaw April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

By Anna Louie Sussman and Paul Lienert

NEW YORK/DETROIT (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp. <7203.T> is moving its U.S. sales headquarters from southern California to suburban Dallas, according to two people familiar with the company's plans.

The relocation likely will bring much of the Japanese automaker's far-flung U.S. operations under one roof, including sales, service, marketing, advertising, manufacturing and quality, the people said.

Texas Governor Rick Perry has made luring businesses from other states a priority, making personal recruiting trips to sell what the Republican touts as a superior business climate, particularly lower taxes.

Toyota is not the first company to announce plans to leave California for Texas. In February, Occidental Petroleum Corp. said it would move from Los Angeles to Houston.

Details of the move were shared Friday with senior Toyota executives, the people said. Toyota employees received an email Sunday informing them of a Monday morning webcast from Jim Lentz, chief executive of Toyota North America, they said.

Toyota spokeswoman Julie Hamp would not confirm the move, but confirmed employees were invited to a webcast Monday and said details would be provided at that time.

The new Texas headquarters is expected to house at least three subsidiaries, the people said, including Toyota Motor Sales USA, Toyota Financial Services and Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing North America. The move will begin in August and will take place in stages through the end of 2016, they said.

Employees in Toyota's Torrance offices and other U.S. locations will be offered relocation packages and financial assistance, they said.

Toyota, which established operations in California in 1957, is the second Japanese automaker to relocate from the Los Angeles area.

Nissan Motor Co <7201.T> in 2006 moved most of its operations to Franklin, Tennessee, outside Nashville.

Toyota has a truck assembly plant in San Antonio, Texas, as well as manufacturing and assembly plants in eight other states, including Kentucky, Indiana and Mississippi.

Texas Governor Rick Perry has made luring businesses from other states a priority, making personal recruiting trips to sell what the Republican touts as a superior business climate, particularly lower taxes.

Perry last month visited California on a recruiting trip and last week was in New York on a poaching trip for the second time in a year. While in Albany, New York's capital, Perry challenged New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, to a debate over which of the two states had the better business climate, according to the New York Daily News.

(Reporting by Anna Louie Sussman in New York and Paul Lienert in Detroit)

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