Toyota's move to north Texas almost certainly will put some of its senior managerial and executive talent in play. But those who choose not to board the plane to Plano may find limited appetite for Toyota veterans among competing automakers in Southern California.
West Coast auto industry executives say that American Honda, Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors America, Mazda North American Operations and Mitsubishi Motors North America lack the capacity to absorb large numbers of ex-Toyotans into their payrolls.
Toyota's deep bench of seasoned mid- to senior-level executives, who tend to earn higher salaries than counterparts at other companies, may find it tough to make a parallel move onto those leaner staffs without taking a hit to their salaries, industry executives said.
"I'd be surprised if 100 people transfer over to another brand," said Stephen Parkford, founder of Long Beach, Calif., executive search firm Parkford & Associates, which handles auto industry searches exclusively.
Competing brands will be most interested in hiring younger, dynamic employees, who are always in demand in the industry, Parkford says. But it's the longer-tenured Toyota staffers with deeper roots in Southern California who may be most likely to stay back.
"[Competitors will] take some of the talent from Toyota that's younger and still has a very long career path," he said. "Ironically, the ones that will want to stay more will be the ones with the shorter career path."