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Toyota Leaving Erlanger, Taking 1,600 Jobs to Texas

This story is now updated with comments from Gov. Steve Beshear and business leaders in Northern Kentucky.

Toyota will move approximately 1,600 jobs from Erlanger as part of a nationwide restructuring that will consolidate its various headquarters in Texas.

The Japanese automaker had housed its manufacturing and engineering headquarters in Erlanger since the mid-1990s. The move to Plano, Texas, where a new facility will be constructed to house Toyota's state-of-the-art headquarters, will also affect operations in California. 

The company announced Monday that it would make a $10 million philanthropic commitment over and above existing commitments to local non-profits and community organizations in Kentucky and California starting in 2017.

The new facility in Texas is expected to be completed in 2017. The majority of the local employees will have the option to relocate to Texas and would be expected to move when that facility is completed.

Several hundred engineering jobs may also be moved to Georgetown.

Governor Steve Beshear commented on the news.

“Obviously, we are extremely disappointed by Toyota’s decision. We would have welcomed the opportunity to discuss options with Toyota, but we will now turn our attention to preparing for this transition," Beshear said in a statement. "We also are disappointed that the lives of hundreds of Kentuckians will be disrupted, and we pledge to assist those families however we possibly can. This transition will take two to three years to achieve, and Toyota has assured us that the company plans to offer industry-leading programs and packages to its people."

"In the past 30 years, Toyota has invested approximately $6 billion in Kentucky. And with 300 jobs moving from Erlanger to Georgetown and 750 new jobs being added to support production of the Lexus ES 350, there will be some 8,200 Toyota employees in Kentucky after the move. The Toyota officials have assured us that a continued strong presence in Kentucky is central to Toyota’s ongoing success."

"Kentucky remains a powerful force in auto manufacturing, and we will do everything possible to maintain and strengthen Kentucky's position as one of the top states for the auto industry.” 

Northern Kentucky Tri-Ed and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce also reacted to the Toyota news.

“Toyota has set a high standard for corporate citizenship, expanding capacity and jobs in Northern Kentucky many times since it first located in the region in 1996,” said Dan Tobergte, President and CEO of Tri-ED, in a statement. “We never like to see a company leave our community. Our understanding is that Toyota’s decision was based on geographic location in Texas between the Sales and Marketing Division from California and the Engineering and Production Support division from Northern Kentucky.”

“In collaboration with Northern Kentucky Tri-ED and other regional partners, we have worked tirelessly to build a diversified economy for the region,” said Brent Cooper, interim president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “We have a solid business climate to build from and while difficult, we will absorb this loss and work to overcome it.”

“There are not many companies that can rival Toyota’s commitment into philanthropic activities and we are grateful for the significant presence they’ve had on our community. We want to thank the local leadership and team members for the company’s generosity and extreme support of volunteerism in the community.”

“Northern Kentucky Tri-ED and our local communities that house the Toyota campus (Erlanger, Boone and Kenton counties) regularly met with Toyota leaders about the company’s presence in Northern Kentucky and no issues with the community were raised,” Tobergte said. “Toyota emphasized to us today in a conference call that Northern Kentucky is a superb community and that events like this sometimes happen when merging operations occur.”

“Toyota has built a rich base of talented and skilled individuals in our community,” Cooper said. “Beginning immediately, we will work with Toyota to ensure that those who wish to remain in the region will find opportunities to match their skillsets.”

Recently released unemployment numbers indicate that Northern Kentucky, Boone (6.3%), Campbell (6.3%) and Kenton (6.4%) counties, had the lowest unemployment numbers in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.