Toyota opens expanded technical centre in Belgium

Toyota today inaugurated its expanded Technical Centre in Zaventem, Belgium, as part of the localisation of its European design and engineering operations. The Technical Centre will focus on the complete upper body development of all future Toyota cars in Europe. To ensure that all Toyota and Lexus vehicles meet the demands of European customers, the Technical Centre undertakes body, chassis and electronics design the selection and testing of materials and components engine evaluation and the tuning of the driveability characteristics of all Toyota models. Representing a total investment of &euro130 million, the Technical Centre currently employs 580 people. Toyota's European Purchasing and Product Engineering activities are also located within the centre, and will continue to grow in step with Toyota's expanding manufacturing operations and capacity.At a ceremony attended by Belgium's Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik, Toyota Motor Europe's president and CEO, Mr. Shinichi Sasaki said: "The expansion of our RandD operations is crucial to our future growth in Europe, as it will help ensure that our European customers receive superior quality vehicles that are specifically tailored to their tastes."

In February 2004, Toyota announced it would invest an additional &euro75 million in its Technical Centre and hire approximately 200 additional engineers. The additional investment was divided between new building extensions (&euro30 million), and the introduction of new testing and evaluation facilities (&euro45 million).

Toyota achieved its ninth consecutive record year of sales in Europe in 2005, with 964,208 vehicles delivered — a 5% rise over the previous year. Toyota also produced 638,000 cars, 588,000 engines and almost 337,000 transmissions at its plants in the U.K., France, Turkey, Poland and the Czech Republic. For 2006, Toyota has set the target of exceeding 1 million units in Europe and operating at full capacity to produce 806,000 cars, 860,000 engines and 575,000 transmissions at its eight plants.