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Until the 2013 Avalon project began,Toyota's Technical Center in Ann Arbor was not a place of landmark innovations. These changes will be on the Tundra and Tacoma soon too.
It is a model engineered in America, built in Kentucky and and sold only in America. With its avant garde styling, it is Marin Luther nailing his 95 theses to Toyota’s Cathedral door. Toyota has increased its investment into this facility in order to better compete in a market where the rising yen eats away at profits on Japanese-made vehicles.
While the Toyota Technical Center has yet to start developing its own engines, that project will begin before the year is over. The Ann Arbor facility has put a tremendous quantity of r&d into the new Avalon and they have done testing and development work that until now has always been done in Japan for Toyotas.
“Our competition has gotten very tough. To respond to the local needs of the North American market, being closer is better. That is the key to success,” said Seiya Nakao, president of the Toyota Technical Center. He took the position in May 2011 amidst the fallout of Toyota’s massive recalls. It was suddenly very obvious that Toyota’s Headquarters was cut off and remote from the US market. The automaker decided to give more control of vehicle development to this American facility to solve this issue and hedge profits against the rising Japanese Yen.
For the rest of the story, head over to Autoguide