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TORRANCE (CNS) - Toyota employees in Southern California are expected to be briefed today on the Japanese automaker's reported plans to move its North American headquarters from Torrance to the Plano area in Texas -- a victory for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and a blow to the Southland.

About 5,300 people work at Toyota's Torrance complex, handling sales, finance, marketing, engineering and product planning. North American Chief Executive Jim Lentz is expected to brief employees today on the anticipated relocation, a person familiar with Toyota's plans told The Los Angeles Times.

It was not immediately clear how many workers will be asked to move to Texas in a shift expected to take several years.

Toyota selected the Greater L.A. area for its first North American headquarters because of proximity to the port complex, through which it imported cars, and easy airline access to Tokyo, according to The Times. As Toyota grew, it opened its national sales and marketing headquarters in Torrance in 1982. The complex now has 2 million square feet of office space.

Today, about 75 percent of Toyota vehicles sold in the United States are built not in Japan but at plants in Texas, Mississippi and Kentucky. Moving corporate headquarters to Texas will put senior management closer to those factories.

In 2005, Nissan announced it was moving its North American headquarters from Gardena to Franklin, Tenn., outside of Nashville. About 550 employees left for Tennessee; an additional 750 left jobs at Nissan to stay in Southern California.

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