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Toyota Adds 3rd Autonomous Vehicle Research Center

Carmaker’s TRI venture partnering with University of Michigan.

by on Apr.08, 2016

Toyota's Gill Pratt is leading the Japanese maker's efforts in the autonomous vehicle arena.

Ann Arbor, Michigan will become the third and latest research center for Toyota’s research into autonomous vehicles. The Japanese automaker will partner with the University of Michigan and share the 32-acre MCity self-driving research facility also used by domestic rivals Ford Motor Co. and General Motors.

Initially wary of autonomous driving, Toyota reversed itself last year and has plunged headlong into the development of the technology, announcing a $1 billion investment to set up the Toyota Research Institute, or TRI, which already has twin bases near Silicon Valley’s Stanford University and Boston’s MIT.

Tech News!

“TRI was drawn to Ann Arbor because of the strength of the university,” explained Gill Pratt, the former DARPA scientist who now heads TRI, as well as “the utility of MCity and the Mobility Transformation Center, which we currently sponsor; (and) the promise of the future American Center for Mobility at Willow Run.”

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Toyota Adding $35 Million to Safety Center Budget

Maker invites collaboration to develop new technologies.

by on Sep.04, 2014

Toyota is working research related to autonomous vehicles at its Collaborative Safety Research Center.

America’s roads are becoming safer and safer through ground-breaking new technologies. These innovations often are born out of collaborations between companies, and Toyota is playing a significant role in those efforts.

Toyota plans to invest an additional $35 million in the Collaborative Safety Research Center in Michigan for research into the prospects for and problems with automated driving and connected technology.

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Osamu Nagata, president and chief executive officer of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, said during a reception that kicked off the Advanced Safety Seminar in Ypsilanti the company plans to provide the center, also known as the CSRC, with an additional $35 million in funding during the next five years. (more…)

Toyota Expands Tech Center as Part of North American Reorganization

Maker getting as much as $8.6 million in incentives in Michigan.

by on Aug.27, 2014

Toyota is getting as much as $8.6 million in incentives to offset the cost of a $32.5 million expansion of its tech center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

As Toyota moves ahead with plans to reshape its North American operations, the automaker may get as much as $8.6 million in incentives to offset a $32.5 million expansion of its technical center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Toyota is moving 250 purchasing jobs from Kentucky to Michigan necessitating the larger facility. In addition to the expansion in Michigan, the maker is moving its headquarters from southern California to a suburb of Dallas, Texas.

Auto Insight!

The State of Michigan is providing a $4 million grant while York Township, near Ann Arbor, is also considering a 12-year property tax abatement valued at $4.6 million. (more…)

Move to Texas Could Help Toyota Tackle Truck Market

Japanese maker struggles to gain ground in full-size pickup segment.

by on Apr.29, 2014

A TRD Pro Tundra goes through its paces.

One of the key motives for Toyota’s decision to move its headquarters and marketing staff from Southern California to Texas undoubtedly involves gearing up for another assault on the lucrative North American truck market, industry experts suggests.

While Toyota has gained ground in SUVs and CUVs, and dominates the small midsize pickup segment, it has failed to gain any real traction in the lucrative full-size pickup segment dominated by its Detroit rivals, despite spending billions on its Tundra line and the plant that produces it.

Beyond the Headlines!

Art Wheaton, an automotive industry expert and faculty member at Cornell University, said cost savings are only part of Toyota’s motivation for leaving Southern California. Suggesting the Japanese maker “has been woefully falling behind Ford, Hyundai and others in (its) plain or boring designs,” Wheaton said “The move, for Toyota, may help increase the willingness to be bold and take risks as a large turnover in employees is expected.”

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Toyota Confirms Plans to Move US HQ to Texas

Maker also plans major expansion at its Michigan tech center.

by on Apr.28, 2014

Toyota has had its U.S. headquarters operation based in California since 1957.

Toyota has confirmed plans to move its U.S. headquarters from the Los Angeles suburbs to a new complex it will build in the Dallas suburb of Plano. It also plans to significantly expand its technical center in the Detroit suburb of Ann Arbor.

All told, about 4,000 current employees will be impacted by the move from California and a separate facility in Kentucky – the announcement coming just days before a corporate restructuring was set to take effect. It remains to be seen how many of those employees will actually make the move when the Japanese giant relocates its U.S. manufacturing, sales and marketing, financial services and corporate operations.

Beyond the Headlines!

The maker says that by combining those operations under one roof, if will be in a position “to better serve customers and position Toyota for sustainable, long-term growth.” But according to reports that had begun leaking out prior to the company’s official announcement, the automaker also wants to slash its expenses and get out from under California’s strict regulatory environment.

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Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai Planning Job Hiring Binge in Detroit

But makers could face engineer supply shortage.

by on Jan.13, 2012

A Venza at the new Toyota engineering center near Detroit, which also includes a new test track.

It may be the home of the Big Three but Detroit has also become a major engineering center for foreign makers as diverse as Mercedes-Benz and India’s Tata Motors.  And now, three of the largest Asian makers are stepping up hiring as they expand their Motor City R&D centers.

Collectively, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai expect to add nearly 400 employees in the Detroit suburbs this year, with additional engineering-related jobs to be offered in 2013 and beyond.

With Nissan moving more engineering work to the US, the Japanese automaker is plans to hire as many as 150 additional engineers this year at its technical center in Farmington Hills to handle a steadily increasing work load.

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“We haven’t hired any new engineers in three or four years,” said Carla Bailo, president Nissan Technical Center North America. In addition, the center lost employees following the 2008 financial crisis. “We have a lot of very good senior engineers. But we need to bring on new and emerging talent,” Bailo said.

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Is Toyota Heading East?

Carmaker may move jobs to Michigan or Kentucky.

by on Nov.24, 2009

Toyota may move key headquarters functions, including product development, out of California.  They could land in either Michigan or Kentucky.

Toyota may move key headquarters functions, including product development, out of California. They could land in Michigan or Kentucky.

Is Toyota ready to walk out on California?

Rumors have been swirling for some time that the giant maker, now facing increased pressures to curb costs, may be ready to move at least some of its U.S. headquarter operations out of the Golden State.  Some jobs may be heading to either Michigan or Kentucky.

Those two states would make sense for a move.  Kentucky is ground zero for Toyota’s core “transplant” assembly operations, while Michigan – though home to its Big Three rivals – has become a critical technical center for the Japanese maker.  Toyota recently opened a major engineering facility in the fringe western suburbs of Detroit that included a new test track.

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If a move does take place, it wouldn’t be the first.  Nissan moved its entire U.S. headquarters operations out of California, several years ago, and last year opened up a permanent new facility outside Nashville, Tennessee.

The financial impact of such a move could be significant, especially for budget-constrained California.  Though the state has been seeing a continuing influx of migrants, it has been struggling to hang onto jobs.  That’s particularly true in the automotive sector.  Not only did Nissan move, but Toyota recently announced that it would close the NUMMI assembly plant, near San Francisco, that it had been operating as part of a joint venture with General Motors for nearly a quarter century.  GM pulled out of the partnership in the wake of its bankruptcy.

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