Toyota to Invest $700 Million in R&D Center in Changshu

The Japanese automaker announced on 17 Nov. that Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (China) Co. Ltd. (TMEC) will be built in Changshu, a city 80km from Shanghai, with $698 million total investment.

TMEC will be Toyota’s sixth R&D center, the other five in Japan, the US, Thailand, Australia, and Belgium. Fully owned by Toyota, it has a registered capital of $234 million, and is expected to be partially functional next spring.

Aiming at improving Toyota’s competitiveness in China, TMEC’s main tasks include conducting consumer surveys for production planning, monitoring the quality of Toyota products in use, research in energy-saving technology, developing engines for the Chinese market, and personnel training.

Toyota sold 709,000 vehicles in China last year, far behind GM (1.83 million) and Volkswagen AG (1.4 million). For 2010, it aims to sell 800,000 units.