Officials disappointed by move of 1,550 jobs away from Erlanger Toyota Headquarters

04/29/2014 03:08 PM

ERLANGER – Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce leaders were surprised by Toyota’s decision Monday to to close their manufacturing headquarters in Erlanger over the next 3 years and take 1,550 jobs away from Northern Kentucky, but they have hope the region will have time to fill the economic void.

The Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing plant announced Monday they will move from Erlanger to a new state-of-the-art facility in Plano, Texas by 2017.

1,000 jobs will be moved to Texas while 300 will go to the Georgetown, Kentucky plant and 250 will go to a facility near Ann Arbor, Michigan. The move is expected to happen between 2016 and 2017.

Governor Steve Beshear responded to the letter he received from Toyota by expressing his disappointment in the decision and the disruption to the lives of the families affected by said the state will remain as a strong presence in the industry.

“The Toyota officials have assured us that a continued strong presence in Kentucky is central to Toyota’s ongoing success,” Beshear said in the statement. “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 Chamber of Commerce President Brent Cooper said Tuesday that the announcement came as a shock to the region.

“It’s a huge hit for our region,” Cooper said. “They are the gold standard for business in the community. They are extremely giving in a number of ways.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced Monday that his state lured Toyota by offering $40 million in tax incentives.

State Senator Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, also released a statement in which he said unfortunately, this will not the last time Kentucky will see this type of move from big companies in the state.

“Every day, Kentucky loses opportunities to bring in new companies because of our business climate. It’s time for us to hold Democratic legislators responsible for these lost jobs and make them address the issues driving our corporations away,” Thayer said. “I remain thankful to Toyota for their investment in Georgetown, and I am deeply sorry that our business climate has forced them to move so many Erlanger jobs out of the Commonwealth.”

In the end, Cooper feels that there really wasn’t anything the region could have done to keep Toyota from leaving.

“This was a strategic decision by Toyota,” Cooper said. “They moved 3000 people from California to Plano, Texas, so the things in our area had nothing to do with that.”

Cooper believes that with the move still over 2 years away, the chamber has time to hopefully explore and attract new businesses to the region to fill void.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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