Toyota Motor North America, Inc. recently celebrated the official opening of its new North American headquarters in Plano, Texas, USA. The company has invested around $1 billion on the project to construct its new corporate campus on 100 acres of land in Plano and move thousands of team members and their families from California, Kentucky and beyond to North Texas.
Three years ago, Toyota announced its “One Toyota” initiative to create more unified operations in North America, in part by bringing together its quality engineering, sales, marketing, financial services and corporate functions in one location. According to the corporation, Toyota’s new North American campus reaffirms the company’s “longstanding commitment to the United States.”
The move to new headquarters coincides with the 60-year anniversary of Toyota production in the USA. Earlier this year, Toyota said it will spend $10 billion in US capital investments over the next five years, an outlay that includes the construction of its Plano headquarters and improvements to its existing manufacturing facilities.
“Sixty years ago, we began our American journey with just one dealership,” stated commented Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota in North America. “As we set our sights on the future, we want to make Texas and Toyota a global epicentre of mobility. […] Our North American Toyota team members are working together to strengthen our research and development efforts in autonomous safety components, connected vehicle technologies, electric and fuel cell powertrains, technology for human support and traffic telematics to help cities run more efficiently.”
In addition to the opening of its Texas headquarters, Wards Auto recently reported that Toyota Motor North America has committed to a $1.33 billion retool of its Georgetown, Kentucky assembly plant. The overhaul will facilitate Toyota’s new scalable TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) vehicle platform, which underpins the 2018 Camry, due to be followed by additional models built at the Georgetown facility over the next two years.
Among key investments at the plant are a more versatile engine-dress line, an aluminium stamping press and new welding operations to accommodate the strategic use of ultra-high-strength steel in the car’s underbody. Additional changes are planned to improve assembly-line ergonomics to make the job easier for workers and enhance vehicle quality, including carriers that raise and lower cars for easier access as they move down the line, as well as special devices that assist line workers in more difficult tasks, such as the installation of the car’s exhaust system.
By 2020, Toyota states that half of its vehicles worldwide will be based on TNGA, with new and retooled plants designed to build up to eight different models and 200,000 vehicles annually.
Dan Antis, Manufacturing Vice President-Stamping Prep at Toyota’s Georgetown Plant, explained, “The benefit [of the retooling] will be with changeovers in the future. A new model? We don’t have to worry about the platform. We don’t have to change the tooling on all the lifters, transfers and conveyors, because that platform doesn’t change. And every TNGA vehicle in the world has the same underbody and will fit in this plant. So it costs a little more now [in tooling], but in the future we will see the cost advantages based on this new design.”