Establishing R&D centers in China by foreign automakers is a huge trend. Of course, the trend was led by GM, which already has an alphabet soup of tech centers (PATAC, CAERC, and CATC) in the Shanghai area. Now, Toyota follows with their own. Following prevailing fashion, it will be called TMEC.
According to a communiqué from Toyota City, ToMoCo will establish the Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (China) Co., Ltd. (TMEC) in the Southeast Economic Development Zone in Changhus. Changhus is in the sprawling outskirts of Shanghai.
The R&D Center that sounds like an engine factory will be 100 percent owned by Toyota, but will share the fruits of its labor and laboratories with its joint venture partners. TMEC will start partial operation in April 2011.
Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco says that they will be busy pouring concrete for a while before concrete research will be conducted: “We’ll be building a test track, and assorted other facilities. It will probably be taking into 2013 before the center is in full swing.” Soon Shanghai, one of the world’s most populous cities, will also be the city with the most test tracks.
One of the main jobs of TMEC is the Chinesefication of Made-for-China Toyota product. The center “aims to tailor vehicles to the demands of Chinese consumers.”