York Township, Mich. — Toyota Motor North America's newest research and development investment makes room for suppliers to work alongside its own engineers.
The $154 million expansion to the Japanese automaker's R&D facilities near Ann Arbor, Mich., consolidates much of its own product development in North America into one campus.
That makes it easier and more efficient for Toyota to work on new vehicles, since it no longer will need to send prototypes to various sites in the U.S., but also pulls ahead its supplier collaboration work into the its advanced development arm, said Ryan Grimm, a purchasing manager for Toyota during an opening event for the R&D site.
"Our design and manufacturing supply chain is all linked on one campus," he said.
The expansion includes a $28 million expansion to its powertrain research facility just north of Ann Arbor and another $126 million at its 700-acre campus south of Ann Arbor in York Township.
The investment moved purchasing and supplier engineering development from Erlanger, Ky., and vehicle development and powertrain from California to southeast Michigan.
The York Township facility, which hosted an opening celebration drawing Toyota executives and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, covers 350,000 square feet with a new 135,000-square-foot supplier center and a 290,000-square-foot prototype development center — including in-house 3D printing.