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Big Changes in Toyota Management

Top American exec expands role; maker appoints first woman as global PR chief.

by on Mar.04, 2015

Toyota Motor North America Chief Executive Officer Jim Lentz spoke at the groundbreaking of the company's new headquarters in Plano, Texas.

Toyota is making some big changes to its senior management, and while most of the moves focus on the critical North American market, the world’s largest automaker also plans to shatter Japan’s glass ceiling by promoting Julie Hamp to run its global public relations efforts.

The appointments come at a time when Toyota is making other big changes, including the move of its North American headquarters from California to a sprawling new campus in Plano, Texas.

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“Bringing together an experienced and diverse team of executives with fresh perspectives, unique regional insights and a global mindset will help us better serve customers around the world,” said Toyota Motor Corp. Pres. Akio Toyoda, in a prepared statement.

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Toyota Breaks Ground on Texas Headquarters

Maker expects flood of employees to visit as part of moving decision.

by on Jan.22, 2015

Toyota Motor North America Chief Executive Officer Jim Lentz speaks at the groundbreaking of the company's new headquarters in Plano, Texas.

Toyota broke ground on its new North American headquarters in Plano, Texas, as it moves ahead with it plans to relocate its key corporate offices from Southern California to the Dallas Metroplex.

As part of the move, Toyota expects 10,000 employees and their families to visit Dallas during the next few months as they decide whether to move or stay in Southern California. Personnel experts expect roughly 40% of the Toyota employees in California, where the company had sunk deep roots, will elect to remain in California for personal reasons.

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The Toyota project is also offering a major boost to the Texas economy, which is reeling as oil prices collapse due to an over-supply of oil around the world. Oil prices have fallen 55% since last summer after Toyota announced plans to shift its North American headquarters to Dallas. (more…)

Toyota Plowing $126 Million in Michigan Facilities

New effort increases decision-making impact of campus.

by on Dec.18, 2014

Toyota plans to invest $126 million into its Ann Arbor, Michigan-based technical center and, by extension, giving the it more decision-making responsibilities.

The definition of “Made in America” is getting rewritten again by Toyota as it announced it plans to invest $126 million into its Ann Arbor, Michigan-based technical center and, by extension, giving the center more decision-making responsibilities.

Toyota is expanding its powertrain operations in Ann Arbor as well as consolidating its vehicle development operations a new facility in nearby York Township, Michigan. The moves will cause the relocation of 85 jobs from California to Michigan.

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“The Technical Center continues to be a vital part of our growing North American operations that enables Toyota to package greater value for our customers,” said Ed Mantey, senior vice president at the Toyota Technical Center. (more…)

Toyota Expands Tech Center as Part of North American Reorganization

Maker getting as much as $8.6 million in incentives in Michigan.

by on Aug.27, 2014

Toyota is getting as much as $8.6 million in incentives to offset the cost of a $32.5 million expansion of its tech center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

As Toyota moves ahead with plans to reshape its North American operations, the automaker may get as much as $8.6 million in incentives to offset a $32.5 million expansion of its technical center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Toyota is moving 250 purchasing jobs from Kentucky to Michigan necessitating the larger facility. In addition to the expansion in Michigan, the maker is moving its headquarters from southern California to a suburb of Dallas, Texas.

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The State of Michigan is providing a $4 million grant while York Township, near Ann Arbor, is also considering a 12-year property tax abatement valued at $4.6 million. (more…)

Toyota’s Lentz Maps out Company’s Future in U.S.

Japanese maker relying on technology, design to strengthen sales.

by on Oct.16, 2013

Toyota's Jim Lentz says Toyota's version of autonomous vehicles will improve driver's ability, not take over the entire process.

When the future finally gets here and we’re all driving, or riding in, autonomous cars, the Toyota badge may not be on the side of your ride, according to Jim Lentz, Toyota North America CEO.

The Japanese carmakers’ plans for autonomous vehicles fall more into the realm of helping drivers improve their skills rather than allowing drivers to sit back and read the paper while the vehicle does the work.

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“We view autonomous cars a little differently than some others. We really see it as a co-pilot type car, not as a self-driving car,” Lentz, the first American to head Toyota’s vast operations in the NAFTA region, told the Associated Press. “A car that can really enhance the reflexes and the ability of a driver to continue to drive. That’s why I’m excited about those cars. As we look at boomers and they start to retire, the ability to have cars that can enhance their capabilities, it’s going to allow them to drive much longer.” (more…)

Toyota Moving More Production to North America

Maker will maintain small “core” in Japan.

by on Aug.08, 2012

Toyota Motor Sales USA's top gaijin, Jim Lentz, revealing the A-BAT concept car.

Toyota expects to increase its already vast North American production network, a senior U.S. official revealed, adding niche products on top of the core vehicle lines that currently roll off an assortment of assembly lines in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The move comes as Toyota struggles to adapt to a changing world in which exchange rates now – and for the foreseeable future – make it increasingly costly to import vehicles from the home market, said Toyota’s top American executive, Jim Lentz.  Complicating matters, Toyota, like its competitors, have come to recognize how vulnerable Japanese operations are to disasters like the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the island nation in March 2011.

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But Toyota officials stress they will not completely abandon the company’s home base.

During a speech at the annual Management Briefing Seminars, in Traverse City, MI, Lentz declined to provide much detail, only noting that, “We’ll have additional announcements down the road as more of cars are designed, built, sold and serviced right here in North America.”

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Toyota Extends Production Cuts at U.S. Plants

Will continue operating at reduced speed at least through June.

by on Apr.20, 2011

Toyota extends production cuts outside Japan.

Still struggling with a shortage of Japanese-made parts, Toyota says it will extend production cuts at its North American “transplant” factories until at least June – but says the move will not result in any layoffs.

Like its Japanese competitors, Toyota has been struggling to get its operations back up to speed in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami – and subsequent nuclear crisis – that devastated Japan. The maker’s home assembly plants were down for a month, resulting in the loss of over a quarter million vehicles of production.

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But the cuts have been extended to other parts of the world, where Toyota’s factories depend on at least some Japanese-made components.

Shortly after the March disaster, Toyota suspended overtime work at its U.S. operations. It now says that from this Friday through June 3 North American plants will operate at half capacity on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and shut down entirely on Mondays and Fridays.

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