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Toyota Technical Center (TTC), a division of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing, North America (TEMA) broke ground on a 700-acre site in York Township today for an expansion of Toyota’s Research and Vehicle Development operations in North America. Government officials and community leaders joined Toyota executives to celebrate this milestone.

“Toyota is committed to building a world class research and development operation in Michigan and today we break new ground as we move forward with the next phase of Toyota Technical Center’s future,” said Yasuhiko Ichihashi, president of Toyota Technical Center.

Toyota Technical Center will be constructing an engineering design facility (350,000 square feet and $150 million investment) and a safety test facility (180,000 square feet and $37 million investment) during the first phase of construction. In addition, there will be 400 new jobs added by 2010. Currently, there are 756 team members that work at TTC’s R&D operations in Michigan.

“The Toyota Technical Center represents a win for Michigan and our workers, and exemplifies the kind of jobs we want to continue to work to bring to our state,” said Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. “Our reputation as an automotive powerhouse brought Toyota here, and we will continue to attract R&D and advanced manufacturing jobs based in the auto industry here because of our global leadership in automotive technology.”

Toyota (NYSE:TM) established operations in North America in 1957 and will operate 15 manufacturing plants in North America by 2008. There are more than 1,700 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in North America which sell more than 2.5 million vehicles a year. Toyota directly employs over 38,000 in North America and its investment here is currently valued at more than $16.8 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota’s annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from North American suppliers totals more than $28 billion. According to a 2005 Center for Automotive Research study, Toyota, along with its dealers and suppliers, has generated nearly 400,000 U.S. jobs, including jobs created through spending by direct, dealer and supplier employees.

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