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· straight cash homie
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PLANO, Texas -- Most of Toyota’s employees at its headquarters in Southern California will make the move to its new North Texas campus next year in a sign that the company has succeeded in its quest for high retention rates, a top executive said.

“Thus far it’s two-thirds to 70 percent, which for us is a great number,” said Jim Lentz, chief executive for Toyota Motor North America. “We’re very happy with that number because it allows us to ensure that our culture continues, which is very, very important to us.”

In raw numbers, Lentz said Thursday that about 3,000 employees from the company’s headquarters in Torrance, Calif., and from smaller operations in Kentucky and New York will relocate. Only a small number of people have yet to decide.

“We let everyone know when we made this move that if you wanted a job, you had a job,” Lentz said during an event at the Plano, Texas, site where the new headquarters is rapidly taking shape. The new campus is on schedule to open mid-year 2017.

In order to fill the jobs of the thousand or so employees that are leaving Toyota rather than make the move to Texas, the automaker has already posted about 350 positions on the careers area of its website and another 650 positions or so will be posted over time. Hiring has already begun, Lentz said.

Toyota employees from Southern California, Kentucky and New York were given nearly three years to make up their minds on the move and had the opportunity to fly out to Plano at the company’s expense to check out their would-be new home.

“They weren’t pressured into making a decision,” Lentz said. “I think people underestimated just how good a place this is.” He said the cost of living and cost of housing were positive factors and that traffic was better than in most major cities.

“Probably the toughest thing to get used to is the weather,” Lentz said.

Toyota is using the move to reorganize some operations with the focus on more collaboration across departments.

Just one example: “In the past, there was a separate track and separate oversight for parts that were going into vehicles versus parts that were going after sales to dealers,” Lentz said in an interview. “That’s now one group working together.”

Toyota already has more than 1,000 of the early movers -- including Lentz -- in temporary office space in Plano and hundreds more will be coming by the end of the year.
Many folks working at Toyota are young and transplanted to California for their careers, so many weren't able to get much housing for their money in LA, so they can get a real house now in Texas.
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