Toyota Offers California Employees Buyouts to Slim Workforce

The massive recalls that affected sales at Toyota Motor (TM) are trickling down to its U.S. workforce. The world's largest automaker is looking to reduce managerial staff at its sales headquarters in Torrance, Calif., by offering workers a buyout, the company said Tuesday.

The package consists of a $20,000 payment plus severance pay that includes 10 weeks salary along with an amount equal to two weeks pay for each year of employment, Toyota said in a statement.

The company said it isn't targeting a specific number in the employee-buyout program and said that the program is voluntary. Employees wanting to participate in the buyout must notify Toyota by March 31, the end of the Japanese fiscal year. Those who choose to participate will leave the company by April 28, the company said.

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An e-mail notice sent to 629 managers at Toyota Motor Sales said the cuts were needed because of the automaker's need to adapt to a changing industry, Reuters reported.

"As you know, the world and the automotive industry have changed dramatically over the past few years and we need to continue to align our staffing and organizational structure to fit our future needs and growth," the message said.

Toyota employs about 6,100 workers in Torrance, a Los Angeles suburb.

Toyota was the only automaker in the U.S. to record a sales decline in 2010 as most of the industry benefited from increased sales driven by a reviving economy.

The Toyota City, Japan-based manufacturer has seen its U.S. sales impacted by several high-profile recalls that led to federally imposed fines totaling nearly $50 million.

On Tuesday, Toyota reported its U.S. sales rose 17% compared to a year ago, marking the first time the company recorded a year-over-year increase in monthly sales since September.

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