Toyota is in the midst of relocating its North American headquarters to Plano, TX, on the outskirts of Dallas. It’s a huge deal for Toyota, of course, and for northern Texas. But if you don’t work for the company or live in the area, it may be of less interest to you personally. Fortunately the Japanese automaker had something more exciting to showcase while it was presenting the plans for its new campus.
What you see here is a vehicular mashup the likes of which we’ve never quite seen before. You might call it a crossover or a hybrid, but those have different (and very specific) connotations when it comes to automobiles. It’s billed as the Toyota Ultimate Utility Vehicle, and it basically puts a Sienna body on a Tacoma truck chassis. It’s also obviously been beefed up some as well, with a jacked-up suspension, off-road rolling stock custom bumpers, reinforced wheel arches and side sills, auxiliary lighting, a matte black finish, smoked headlamps and tinted windows.
It’s set to be showcased at the SEMA show later this year, but in case the look of it didn’t convince you, the UUV is built to run. It’s set to take part in the North American leg of Toyota’s Ever-Better Expedition that’s designed to put the company’s employees out on the road in the cars they make. You can read more about the expedition in the press release below. Oh, and if you’re interested in how the new headquarters are shaping up, there are details about that as well, along with a quick video tour.
Toyota Unveils Campus Design for New North American Headquarters
Company Marks Latest ‘One Toyota’ Milestone with Launch of Transcontinental ‘Ever-Better Expedition’ to Inspire Team Members and Future Innovations
PLANO, Texas, June 24, 2015 – Toyota Motor North America today unveiled architectural renderings of its future North American headquarters, providing new details of the site layout and exterior design of its environmentally sensitive corporate campus. In support of the Company’s “One Toyota” vision, the renderings reveal buildings and outdoor spaces designed to create a collaborative environment that encourages discovery, transparency and creativity.
To mark the occasion, Toyota also launched the Ever-Better Expedition – the North American leg of a real-world, global driving project designed to support and unite Toyota’s 330,000 worldwide team members in their mission to create ever-better vehicles. A convoy of Toyota vehicles left Plano today on a 110-day transcontinental journey that will allow Toyota engineers and other team members to feel the road, experience vehicle performance, connect with customers and gather new insights to inspire the design and development of future vehicles.
“Bringing our team members together at this striking and inspiring new campus in Plano will help Toyota become a more cohesive, collaborative and innovative company so we can serve our customers better,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota’s North America Region. “Our efforts to become One Toyota in North America go hand-in-hand with the goals of the Ever-Better Expedition, which embodies our passion for continuous improvement and sharing ideas so that we can deliver products that exceed our customers’ expectations.”
New Headquarters Inspired by ‘One Toyota’ Philosophy, Environmental Sustainability
Designed by Corgan Associates, the architectural renderings unveiled today and available at http://pressroom.toyota.com provide a number of different perspectives and details of the proposed Toyota campus in Plano, which includes:
– Seven buildings, up to five stories tall, arranged around a large central plaza that serves as the literal and symbolic heart of all social and business functions – including dining, fitness, and conferencing facilities;
– Building facades that are predominantly glass, with generous roof overhangs along the southern exposures to cast shade;
– Local and regional materials and low-water plantings that reflect the native landscapes of North Central Texas;
– Water features for catchment and storage of water for irrigation; and
– Parking structures and office buildings that can support solar panels for renewable energy production.
“Our work with some of the best designers, builders, architects – along with important input from our own team members – has inspired our thinking around how our new facilities can support and enhance the One Toyota Experience,” said Lentz. “We also want to ensure our new headquarters supports Toyota’s commitment to the environment through sustainable, environmentally sensitive and state-of-the-art design, materials, features and efficiencies.”
Toyota intends to pursue LEED Platinum certification for the campus, the highest level of certification possible by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Ever-Better Expedition: Getting Out to Feel and Learn from the Road
Groups of Toyota engineers and other team members participating in the Ever-Better Expedition will drive a convoy of Toyota’s best-known models across North America, tackling some of the continent’s most challenging and inspiring driving environments, from California’s Death Valley in summer to the icy roads of Alaska in winter, from Pike’s Peak in Colorado to the streets of New York City. Along the way, they will also visit Daytona Beach, Route 66, Toyota manufacturing and research facilities, and the highways, avenues and back streets that customers across North America use every day.
The goal of the Expedition is to allow Toyota team members to get out from behind their desks and experience in the real world the vehicles they design, engineer, manufacture and sell — taking what they learn from the road to inform the development of future generations of vehicles and deliver an ever-better driving experience to customers. The Expedition will also allow them to interact directly with North American customers to better understand their needs and how they use Toyota products.
The North America Expedition is the second leg of Toyota’s Five Continents Driving Project. It that was inspired by Toyota President Akio Toyoda, whose passion for cars and the driving experience is revolutionizing the way that Toyota approaches product development and customer engagement. The first leg was organized and executed by Toyota Australia, where vehicles drove cross-country through Australia’s diverse and rugged terrain, resulting in new product insights and valuable learning experiences for team members.
For the North American Expedition, Toyota is also introducing the Toyota Ultimate Utility Vehicle (UUV) – a custom-made Sienna body retrofitted on top of a Tacoma truck built for display at this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) conference. A Land Cruiser 200 will also travel the entire length of the North American Expedition and is the only vehicle that will travel to all of the continents included in the global tour.
In support of the North American Expedition, Toyota launched www.ToyotaEverBetter.com, where visitors can follow the Expedition’s progress through the end of the year.
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world’s top automaker and creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 42,000 people (more than 33,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.67 million cars and trucks (more than 2.35 million in the U.S.) in 2014 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.
Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this commitment, we share the company’s extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.
Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA), headquartered in Erlanger, KY., is responsible for Toyota’s engineering design, development, R&D and manufacturing activities in North America. TEMA’s Toyota Technical Center (TTC) operates engineering, research and development facilities in Ann Arbor, MI, including Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC).