Toyota Announces £65 Million Investment In European R&D

4 September 2008

Toyota will invest an additional €80 million (£65 million) in its European Technical Centre located in Zaventem, Belgium – the first step in a two-phase expansion plan that will initially create 250 new jobs.

Starting in 2009, the Toyota Technical Centre will establish a test track for development purposes, introduce new test equipment, and renovate premises to create an additional 12,000 m2 in workshop space.

The decision reinforces Toyota’s long-term commitment to localise vehicle development still further and tailor mobility solutions for its European customer base. Toyota’s total investment in European R&D now exceeds €200 million (£162 million).

Mr Kazuhiko Miyadera, Senior Vice-President of R&D at Toyota Europe said the announcement signalled a major vote of confidence in the long-term growth of European R&D, and was credit to the centre’s highly skilled and capable workforce. ‘Our new and expanded R&D capability will ensure that technological developments are closely matched to European driving conditions, standards and tastes,’ he added.

The new expansion means that significantly more responsibility for the development of new Toyota models will be assumed by the Zaventem site. This will help to strengthen ties with suppliers in Europe and ensure a stronger integration of European technologies in new models early on in the development process.

The new three-lane test track will be 1.3 kilometres long and include different driving surfaces and slopes reflecting European road conditions. This will allow vehicle prototypes to be tested and driving characteristics, such as vibration, wind noise and powertrain suitability, to be assessed in a secure yet real-life environment. Toyota will take specific steps to ensure that every-day noise levels in the immediate area are not affected by the use of this track.

As part of Toyota’s commitment to reduce environmental impacts across every aspect of the business, the expansion will be managed according to strict eco-friendly design and construction criteria. Up to 80 per cent of demolition materials will be recycled and reused on-site, significantly reducing traffic congestion. Toyota Europe is also investigating the use of geothermal energy and photovoltaic solar panels to limit the centre’s dependency on fossil fuels and improve energy efficiency.

This expansion of the Toyota Technical Centre adds considerably to Toyota’s already strong presence in Belgium, which is also home to Toyota’s European Head Office. Toyota’s other facilities in Evere, Zaventem, Diest and Zeebrugge today represent a total investment of €594 million (£482 million) and employ more than 3,000 workers – positioning Toyota as a major automotive player in Belgium.

Established in 1987, the Toyota Technical Centre is home to Toyota Europe’s research and development, purchasing, and production engineering activities. The centre undertakes body and chassis design; the selection and testing of materials and components; engine evaluation; and the tuning of driveability characteristics of all Toyota models in Europe. The centre currently employs close to 800 people.


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Toyota Announces £65 Million Investment In European R&D


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