Toyota Motor Corp., which lost market share for the first time in the U.S. in a dozen years in 2010, is offering incentives to white-collar staff to leave the company.
Toyota sent the offer to U.S. managers in its automotive operations and customer-service groups. About 629 people are eligible, Toyota said.
While not the first time the auto maker has offered buyouts to its white-collar staff, the move stands in contrast to Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., which have begun hiring again after shedding tens of thousands of jobs.
"This voluntary program is part of an ongoing process of evaluating our operations and aligning them with our future growth. It will allow for further restructuring and enable us to expand areas of responsibility and increase efficiency," the company said in a statement.
Toyota said it hasn't set a specific target for how many departures it seeks. Workers are eligible for $20,000 cash plus two weeks of pay for each year at the company and 10 weeks of additional salary.
Trade publication Automotive News first reported the buyouts.
The news came shortly after Toyota reported that its January U.S. sales rose 17% over last year and that it would launch a new media campaign this month, dubbed "Number 1 for A Reason."
The Japanese company also launched a raft of new customer incentives, including no-interest, five-year loans and $500 towards down payments on its Camry sedan. Toyota lost two points of market share in 2010 and suffered through a year-long struggle with recalls related to unintended acceleration.
Toyota's Bob Carter, who runs the Toyota brand sales in the U.S., has said the company will regain market share this year, in part by putting out new models, including a larger Prius and a redesigned Camry.