LOS ANGELES -- For Toyota and its workers, the road to Texas is paved with uncertainties.
As the automaker prepares to consolidate its far-flung engineering, sales, marketing, finance and corporate operations into a new North American headquarters near Dallas over the next few years, it's wrestling with a knotty set of challenges: retaining enough of its employees to ensure a smooth transition, realigning job functions across various divisions and keeping up morale as anxious workers await word on their new job descriptions and pay scales.
Toyota, known for a corporate culture that encourages salaried employees to consider their jobs lifelong careers, is offering what many call a generous lump sum as an incentive to workers who agree to make the move and stay in Plano, Texas, for two years.
Those who agree to stay on until their departments move "will be provided with a generous retention package that will recognize and reward the value of their much-needed talents through our years-long transition," Toyota spokesman Steven Curtis wrote in an email.
People familiar with the matter say Toyota is taking pains to avoid the continuity problems that Nissan faced when it relocated its North American offices from Southern California to Tennessee several years ago as part of a cost-cutting drive. Nissan says it retained about 42 percent of its work force at the time of the move.
Toyota is "rewarding people for staying and rewarding them again for going," said a consultant who is helping the automaker with the move to Texas.