Toyota Motor Corp. said that it is going to invest about $126 million in three new facilities in Michigan, for expansion of its technical center, which is already a part of its effort to merge previously separated operations.
The funding effort is led by the CEO of Toyota North America Jim Lentz - the highest ranking non-Japanese member of the company’s team. After his appointment two year ago, Lentz pushed to merge operations. Last year, he revealed that the company is planning to shift its headquarters to Texas from Torrance, Plano, Calif.
As stated by Lentz the technical center projects include construction of two- new buildings in York Township – a new prototype facility for auto developments, and a supplier center. The expansion widens the company’s powertrain development services on its Ann Arbor Township Campus.
As part of the move, the Japanese automobile manufacturer has also relocated purchasing and a few of engineering operations to Michigan, where the company is currently employing about 1,500 workers near Ann Arbor Township campus - Michigan. Company’s new facilities will employee 300 workers shifting from Erlanger, Ky. and Torrance.
Before a ground breaking ceremony, Lentz has commented that Detroit still remains the epicenter of the automotive world. After making a striking move, Lentz stands within the first 50 employees to shift from California to Texas.
Lentz is anticipating that by the end of year, there would be about 350 workers in Texas, and construction work has been commenced on the new headquarters in Texas. He also asserted that Texas has given the company $40 million in incentive for shifting to the state.
But, still Lentz feels that though Toyota has fully recovered from the series of events in 2009 all the way through the year, 2011, which intrigued to damage the company in North America, along with including crises linked with uncertainties, risk, and natural hazards in Japan in 2011 that limited company’s auto production.
Yet, the company’s U.S. market shares are priced at 14.5 per cent – and it hasn’t returned to its peak level of 17 per cent since 2009. Referencing the bankruptcies of Chrysler LLC., and General Motors Co, Lentz said that there were a lot of tailwinds they had led that to 17, and he wasn’t sure that they were good as 17 per cent, but thought that the company can do a bit better than 14.5 per cent.
Lentz said that he didn’t know whether Sergio Marchionne – CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, had reached out to Toyota about a merger as he has with GM, but, Marchionne is seeking to consolidate with another automobile manufacturer for improving scale and market share prices.
Lentz commented that it was something that they would not be interested in as the company has improved its development scale.