US: Toyota starts work on expansion for Michigan tech center image
The Toyota Technical Center near Ann Arbor had a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion planned to solidify the importance of the US presence of the Japanese automaker.
The largest carmaker in the world and the biggest company in Japan has pledged to the construction $126 million to add two more buildings to its complex in York Township – a prototype testing facility that caters for vehicle development, unifying the work done now in two separate centers in Plymouth and Livonia. The other one is a supplier center for about 250 employees. Additionally, the existing powertrain development facility on the nearby Ann Arbor Township campus is also being upgraded as the company wants to spearhead the development on new engines and automatic transmissions for the North American market, with vehicles designed and built here set to benefit from the work. With construction work expected to finish late in 2016, Toyota will be able to speed up the consolidation of people from all functions and units in a single location, mulling faster decisions and increased efficiency in terms of product development and research, according to Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, present at the York Township groundbreaking ceremony.
The Toyota Technical Center started operations back in 2008 and today houses 1,200 people, with the planned upgrades and expansion part of Toyota’s strategy to consolidate its North American operations. Most duties pertaining to research and development will be located in Michigan while the corporate offices would be moved to Plano, Texas, from Torrance, California and the automaker abandons its third hub in Kentucky.