As prepared for:
R&D Grand Opening,
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Jim Lentz, Chief Executive Officer, Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
Introduction: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder
Thank you Governor Snyder and York Township Supervisor Tellas.
I’m glad you could be part of our grand opening event!
Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us to celebrate an amazing milestone!
Just three short years ago, right here in Southeast Michigan, we introduced our “One Toyota” plan to bring team members from across our affiliates together under one roof, and to also bring functions, like our R&D teams, together for greater collaboration.
But, as we like to say, “One Toyota” is more than a building, it’s a mindset. And we’re seeing this mindset in action, especially here in Michigan.
There’s a tremendous sense of energy throughout our company, and it’s inspiring greater
collaboration, innovation, and faster decision making, all with an eye on our customers, as we focus our efforts on the future of mobility.
But, this new way of working, this new cultural shift, in my opinion, would not have been possible had it not been for our efforts to physically move and bring team members together.
Over the past 18 months, we have announced a total investment of $154 million into our Michigan research and development facilities.
- Expansion of the powertrain operations at our Ann Arbor campus,
- Consolidation of prototype development operations,
- And, the construction of a Supplier Center, all located right here on the
York Township campus.
What’s more, today not only marks the official opening of each of these facilities as part of Toyota’s R&D center in the U.S. This day is also Toyota’s 40th
anniversary of being here in the great state of Michigan.
In addition to our R&D facilities, we also have Calty, our design and research center, who work closely with our chief engineers to design many of our future vehicles.
We also have members of our Toyota Research Institute, TRI for short, right here in Ann Arbor
who collaborate on shaping the future of mobility with our TRI teams in California and Massachusetts.
We’re very proud of being an integral part of Michigan’s cultural fabric.
We have more than 1,600 team members today, and, we’ve brought 335 positions
to Michigan from other parts of the country.
But we’re not stopping there. We’re also ramping up our hiring efforts. We’re recruiting some of the brightest minds who want to join our efforts here in Michigan to challenge what’s possible, both in their roles at Toyota and within the auto industry.
The possibilities for growth in our company are endless.
It’s our team members who will help Toyota expand our horizons beyond the design, sales and
service of great cars, SUVs and trucks, and will help us address mobility challenges for everyone.
For example, we’re working to develop:
- Personal robotics ... to provide mobility to the elderly or those with handicaps
- Autonomous mobility devices and advanced safety systems
- Mobility devices to assist the visually impaired and those with spinal cord injuries,
- And we’re researching the many ways connected car technologies can deliver more personalized ownership experiences.
Our new R & D center aligns with the One Toyota mindset, giving us ever better ways to serve our team members ,our customers, and our community. On top of that, we’re proud of the many state-of-the-art campus features and energy efficiencies, which demonstrate our commitment to the environment.
In fact, we’ve applied for LEED Platinum certification for this amazing new campus—the highest level of certification possible by the U.S. Green Building Council.
If approved, this will be the only facility in the state of Michigan with this certification.
Now, to help open this extraordinary campus and lead our Research and Development team
here, in Michigan, I’d like to introduce someone who has a rich history with this company.
He helped oversee the design of many of our Toyota and Scion vehicles, and he was the chief engineer for the most sold vehicle in the world, the Toyota Corolla.
Ladies and gentlemen, executive vice president, Shinichi Yasui.