Toyota would have loved us

David Mildenberg - May 15, 2014 - 9:15:00 am

Charlotte came in second when Toyota decided last month to put a consolidated U.S. headquarters in a Dallas suburb, a loss that feels even more painful after a report that the likely economic impact will be $7.2 billion over the next 10 years. Even if that analysis is inflated it’s clear the move would have transformed Charlotte.

The Japanese automaker plans to invest more than $300 million in a Plano, Texas headquarters operation for as many as 4,000 workers. Toyota jobs in California, New York and Kentucky will move to Texas, which offered the company $40 million from a public deal-closing fund controlled by Texas Governor Rick Perry. Plano is paying $6.75 million if Toyota creates at least 2,900 jobs and completes a 1 million-square-foot building.

North Carolina has not disclosed what it offered Toyota in incentives. Texas had the advantages of a more central location, no state income tax and closer ties with Toyota, which builds Tundra trucks at a San Antonio plant.

Longevity and leadership at the top also probably mattered. Toyota’s top U.S. executive praised Perry as he explained the relocation decision process.

North Carolina has had four governors since Perry took office in 2000. 

Still, when those Toyota workers battle north Dallas’s traffic and pay $100-plus a month in tolls for their daily commute, one suspects they will wish they were living in the Queen City.


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