Toyota Plants Big R&D Center in Shanghai

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Intellectual property warriors, get your guns: Following GM, its arch nemesis Toyota will plant a brand new R & D center smack into the alleged intellectual property jungle called China. Toyota plans to spend between $330 and $440 million for the center. Building will commence next year. Compared to Toyota, the one GM built in 2008 was the lite version at a price of only $250 million.

The Toyota R&D center, complete with a full-scale test course, will be located not far from the GM center, in the outskirts of Shanghai, Gasgoo reports.

Toyota has four joint ventures in China and holds about 6 percent of the world’s largest auto market. Officially, Toyota’s center is being moved to China to better meet local demand. Unofficially, it is most likely there to save on R&D costs. Shanghai University’s highly regarded Automotive College in Anting is cranking out very capable engineers by the boatload, ready and willing to work at much lower wages than an engineer in Aichi, Detroit, or Wolfsburg.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Gimmeamanual Gimmeamanual on Nov 10, 2009

    I know what some mid-level engineers at my and other companies make, with working knowledge of English, and it's not even close to $80K...maybe 80-90k RMB. Tongji University has a pretty dope wind-tunnel system in which they can fit big trucks, was told they spent around 500 million RMB on that alone. They also have big NVH and enviro chambers.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Nov 10, 2009

    @gimmeamanual: Obviously, you've been in Anting. Pretty impressive setup, eh? They even have a maglev test track outside .... They are also very advanced with electric propulsion. And yes, you get a midlevel engineer for 80K RMB, which comes out to approx $1000 a month. That's quite a decent salary in China.

  • Greg Locock Greg Locock on Nov 10, 2009

    We wuz ripped! OK, maybe the guys we were talking to were more senior than that (and yes their english wa s pretty good). I know Chinese speaking chinese engineers are pretty cheap, so any Chnese engineers reading this - guess what you ought to do!