Toyota completes R&D center with test courses

Toyota Motor says it has completed construction of a research-and-development hub in central Japan with 12 types of test courses. It invested about 2 billion dollars in the project.

Chairman Toyoda Akio attended a ceremony on Tuesday at the site and pledged to accelerate improvements in manufacturing. Toyoda said, "We will just continue to drive, break and repair our cars so that we'll be able to create better vehicles."

The new 6.5-square-kilometer facility is in a mountainous area of Aichi Prefecture about 30 minutes by car from the automaker's head office.

A 2-kilometer straight course and one with a height difference of 60 meters to simulate alpine roads in Europe are included. Another recreates slippery surface conditions like snow and ice.

Toyota plans to assign about 3,000 workers at the new center to heighten its competitiveness.