A decision by Toyota Motor Corp. to shift its North American sales headquarters from Torrance, California to Plano, Texas is considered as a strategic and optimistic move, but not for the residents of the city. Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto has remarked to Reuters that he had been blindsided by the move.
Pat Simpson, a Torrance resident for over 60 years, just asked in disbelief, “Why do they want to tear this place apart?" According to Scotto, he first thought that it was about something else when he was he was told by Toyota to expect a phone call at 9:45 a.m. on Monday.
He added that they thought that only a part of Toyota was moving, not everything. He said that Toyota’s decision was "sad news." Toyota is one of the two biggest employers in Torrance, employing around 4,000 people, representing around five percent of the city's workforce.
Scotto said that Toyota’s transfer would mean $1.2 million in lost tax revenues, although the emotional toll and wider economic impact will be much higher. Since his son-in-law works for Toyota, Scotta may see his daughter and grandchildren also transferring to Texas.
"It's going to affect tens of thousands of people," Scotta said. The mayor thanked Toyota for all of its contributions to Torrance, including a recent $500,000 donation to help construct a new sports complex a few blocks from city hall. Scotto disclosed that the facility will be called the Toyota Sports Complex. Toyota has been running its US operations in Torrance since 1982. [source: Reuters]