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Toyota restructures U.S. marketing arm; voluntary exits offered

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[April 28, 2014]  By Anna Louie Sussman

NEW YORK (Reuters)  Toyota Motor Corp. <7203.T> will restructure its marketing organization in California, the company said on Sunday.

Many of Toyota's more than 5,000 California-based employees are based at a complex outside of Los Angeles that houses the company's marketing operations, Toyota Motor Sales USA (TMS).

A company spokeswoman confirmed the restructuring, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, and said it would be effective May 1.

"Roles and responsibilities will be redefined" to create a more efficient team, the spokeswoman said, and those whose roles have been eliminated can apply for new roles within the reorganized operation, elsewhere in TMS, or at Toyota Financial Services. A voluntary exit program is also available.

TMS handles the non-technical and non-manufacturing aspects of the business: sales, service, advertising and public relations.

Toyota has a small manufacturing operation in Long Beach, California, as well as vehicle factories in lower-cost states like Kentucky, Indiana, Texas and Mississippi.

Until 2006, most Asian auto makers were based in Southern California. In 2006, Nissan moved its headquarters from California to Nashville, Tennessee.

It is unclear if this is the first step in a similar move to transition to another state where labor and taxes are lower. A spokeswoman said the company would make a full announcement on Monday.

(Reporting by Anna Louie Sussman and Paul Lienert; editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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