Toyota launches $126 million randd expansion in Michigan

Toyota Motor Corp. broke ground today on the $126 million expansion of its Technical Center near Ann Arbor, Mich.

The expansion includes a new prototype facility for vehicle development, additions to the powertrain development facility and a supply center. The construction is expected to wrap up in late 2016.

The renovations at the Ann Arbor Toyota Technical Center, announced in December 2014, are part of the automaker’s push to consolidate its North American r&d and establish a new North American headquarters in Plano, Texas. Manufacturing, sales and marketing and corporate functions will be housed in Texas, while Michigan will become the hub for product development.

The automaker is relocating about 300 engineering employees from Kentucky and California as part of the Technical Center expansion.

Toyota’s North American CEO Jim Lentz, North American Vice President Simon Nagata and Technical Center President Seiya Nakao attended today’s groundbreaking.

“The expansion of this campus is a key element of Toyota’s ongoing unification of our North American operations, which includes a new headquarters in Plano, Texas,” Lentz said in prepared remarks.

“Investments here in Michigan will intensify Toyota’s engineering, product development and procurement capabilities. The impact of this will be felt by our customers through improved quality, adoption of new technologies and greater value of the vehicles we produce.”

Toyota also donated three Tundra pickup trucks to local fire departments.

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