Toyota’s chief executive in North America recently told business leaders in Dallas that 75 percent of the automaker’s employees in Kentucky, California and New York have expressed interest in moving when the company opens its new headquarters in Texas.

A Dallas, Texas business newspaper reported that CEO Jim Lentz expressed confidence that the company would make a smooth transition to new headquarters in Plano, Texas, because such a large number of employees from other states have said they’d accept offers to move there.

Toyota officials in Kentucky said that the operations in Georgetown, Ky. would be unaffected by the move. In fact, the current workforce of 7,500 is expected to grow as a new production engineering center gets up and running there.

Spokeswoman Ashley Chatham said that there are approximately 1,000 jobs slated to move to Plano from Erlanger and that Toyota is still in the process of determining who will make the move there and to two other locations.

The Dallas Business Journal quoted Lentz as saying that the automaker has “lost some people already, but today, after we poll people, about 75 percent have said, ‘Yeah, I’d like a job offer.’” Lentz spoke at a North Dallas Chamber of Commerce luncheon last Friday.

“Now that doesn’t mean that 75 percent of them are coming. But even if I get two-thirds,” that’s a high number, Lentz said.

Toyota announced two years ago that it’s moving 4,000 jobs from Kentucky, New York and California, spending an estimated $1 billion to build a new headquarters in Plano. The expenses include paying moving costs and retention bonuses. By early 2017, the company expects to consolidate separate North American headquarters for manufacturing, sales and marketing, and its corporate operations to a single campus in Texas.

Its finance arm also will move its headquarters to the new home base.

The Dallas paper reported that the headquarters is on schedule for completion early next year and that nearly 500 Toyota employees have moved to temporary space in the city.

Lentz also said during an interview with the business journal that for those who choose not to relocate, Toyota expects to hire 800 to 1,000 employees in North Texas. That may be the “toughest task associated with the consolidation,” Lentz is quoted as saying in the article.

In Ehlanger, a total of 1,300 people work at Toyota’s engineering and manufacturing center, and it’s expected that 1,000 jobs will move to Plano, while another 250 to 300 production engineering jobs will move to Georgetown. A similar number will go to a purchasing division in Michigan.

Not everyone will want to leave Northern Kentucky, so it’s expected the company will need to hire to fill positions at the other locations, spokesman Victor Vanov, who recently moved from Kentucky to Plano. Most of the changes should shake out in the next 18 months, he said.

Reporter Grace Schneider can be reached at 502-582-4082 or by email, gschneider@courier-journal.com.