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Toyota To Centralize North American Operations

February 1, 1996

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) _ Toyota Motor Corp. will centralize supervision of its far-flung North American manufacturing operations at a new facility in northern Kentucky, company and state government officials said today.

``It signifies that Toyota is taking North America even more seriously,″ Toyota Vice President Jim Wiseman said at a ceremony at the Capitol today. An exact site has not yet been chosen.

Wiseman said the oversight of manufacturing support in a single location will give greater autonomy to the operation from the company’s Japanese headquarters.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority this morning approved an incentive package that could be worth up to $13.25 million in tax credits for the company over the coming decade.

Toyota spokeswoman Frances Champion said Toyota will centralize supervision of purchasing, engineering and administration in northern Kentucky. She said the company’s sales and marketing operation and its research efforts will remain separate.

Mikio Kitano, who has been president of the company’s Georgetown, Ky. manufacturing operation, will take on the duties of president of the new Toyota Motor Manufacturing, North America.

Published reports estimate 500 or more employees will eventually land at the headquarters, which will be in the northern Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati. An exact site has not yet been chosen.

Kitano said the location in the middle of most of the company’s 250 suppliers, near the Georgetown plant and a planned one in Gibson County, Ind., swayed the decision.

Economic Development Cabinet spokesman Joe Lilly said the company had to get preliminary approval for its incentives before it could close on a site. Several locations around the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport are reportedly under consideration.

Toyota makes passenger cars in Georgetown, Ky. and Cambridge, Ontario; and also has a plant in Fremont, Calif. that is jointly owned by Toyota and General Motors Corp.

It also builds fork lifts in Indiana, has engine and casting operations in St. Louis and Troy, Mich., and another parts manufacturing facility in Canada.

Toyota is Japan’s largest automaker, and holds about a 40 percent share of the Japanese market.

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