Boone Co. judge-executive: No warning from Toyota

File photo
File photo

(FOX19) - Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore said Tuesday that he feels blindsided and that it was a little unfair that Toyota is closing its Northern American engineering and manufacturing headquarters in Erlanger.

Moore, like other Northern Kentucky leaders say they had no idea Toyota was looking to move. Moore told our Rob Williams on Tuesday's FOX 19 Morning News that officials received an email around 11 a.m. Monday saying there was a conference call at 1:45 p.m. and during that call officials learned about the closing.

"We have quarterly meetings there to talk about relationships between the community and Toyota," he said. (There was) no sign (and) no warning at all."

Toyota plans to move its Erlanger employees to suburban Dallas, Michigan and Georgetown, Ky., the company announced Monday. Locally, that means about 1,550 jobs gone and the loss of a corporate headquarters.

The new facility will be in Plano, Texas where the Japanese auto manufacturer will consolidate its three separate North American headquarters for manufacturing, sales, marketing and corporate operations into one campus. The company's North American finance division will also move to Texas.

The company said altogether the moves will affect approximately 4,000 employees.

The move will impact about 1,000 employees at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc. in Erlanger. Toyota said it will expand its Toyota Technical Center near Ann Arbor, Mich. for the relocation of approximately 250 Erlanger positions.

The company said about 300 production engineering positions based in Erlanger will be relocated to a new facility to be built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky in Georgetown, Ky. with about 1,000 administrative Erlanger jobs being moved to Plano.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the state offered Toyota $40 million through its Texas Enterprise Fund that offers companies incentives.

Also impacted are approximately 2,000 employees at Toyota Motors Sales USA Inc. in Torrance, Calif. and "certain employees" at Toyota Motor North America in New York.

Moore said the community would have given Toyota "all we had" in incentives to keep them.  He said that Kentucky doesn't exactly have that type of fund as Texas does but officials would have found a way to keep the company here.

"Based on the information we have today, this was not incentive driven," he said. "This was a management decision made at a much higher level. If we had had an opportunity to come to the table with incentives, we could have been competitive. But this was more about a management decision by them to bring California, New York and Northern Kentucky jobs to Texas."

The Texas campus is expected to be completed in late 2016 or early 2017. Small groups will start moving this summer from Toyota's Erlanger, California and New York facilities.

Moore said during that two-year period officials will be utilizing all of its resources to make sure quality jobs are brought in and give employees possibly the opportunity to not leave the area.

Moore said the Toyota's decision was not driven because of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport which has fewer flights and consistently is one of the most expensive in the country.  He said Toyota said that closing the Erlanger facility is not because of anything the local community did or did not do. He said instead it was an upper level management decision to find efficiencies.

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