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2021 Toyota Product Centre



**Toyota Australia design, engineering and evaluation teams brought together in new Product Centre**
**$40m investment strengthens state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence**
**Greater collaboration and new technology further global role in product development**

Toyota Australia is continuing to invest in Australian innovation and expertise, opening a state-of-the-art Product Centre at its Centre of Excellence (CoE) facility in Altona, Victoria.

The new Product Centre brings together all of Toyota's local planning, design, engineering and evaluation teams in the same facility, ensuring the world-class Australian teams will continue to design and develop unique products for the Australian and global markets.

These teams were behind such models as the HiLux Rugged X and HiLux Rogue. The new facility at the sprawling 22-hectare CoE will allow for an unmatched level of collaboration across departments.

Toyota Australia Vice President Product, Guest and Aftersales Operations Mike Rausa said the new facility would give the product design, engineering and evaluation teams even more opportunities to create exciting products.

"We've already seen what our planning and development teams are capable of, with vehicles like the HiLux Rugged X and HiLux Rogue proving to be popular here in Australia and creating accessories that are adopted in markets around the world," Mr Rausa said.

"We wanted to retain and build on the capability developed during our long history of vehicle manufacturing, providing a highly collaborative environment that would allow Australian design and engineering expertise and know-how to be utilised within the broad Toyota family.

"The new Product Centre delivers just that, keeping jobs, skills and career paths grounded in Australia."

The Product Centre is housed inside the former powertrain manufacturing building that produced over 2.5 million locally built engines from 1978 to 2017, ensuring that Toyota's positive impact on the local economy will continue.

It reflects the desire of Toyota Motor Company global president Akio Toyoda who stated that he wanted to leave a legacy at the Altona manufacturing site, and of former Toyota Australia President and Chairman Max Yasuda, who had a vision to create a centre that built better ways of working - with highly skilled people creating excellent products.

Toyota Australia Product Planning and Development General Manager Rod Ferguson said the new Product Centre would foster an environment that allowed Australia to spearhead exciting new projects for the local market and beyond.

"Our design and engineering teams are highly utilised by Toyota affiliates around the world, thanks to their exceptional ability to create products that resonate with customers across the globe," Mr Ferguson said.

"Having previously been based at multiple facilities around Melbourne, consolidating the product teams on one site in a state-of-the art facility, alongside other TMCA business functions, will foster a level of collaboration that hasn't been possible before.

"The new Toyota Product Centre ensures Toyota's legacy of locally developed products will continue for decades to come," he said.

Toyota has invested about $40 million for the construction of the Product Centre, forming part of the $150m overall investment in the CoE.

The CoE includes a Dealership Dojo that provides training and upskilling for dealership staff, a Centre of Education that can be used by schools, government and community groups to learn about sustainability and environmental responsibility.

The CoE also houses the industry-leading Hydrogen Centre and hydrogen production, storage and re-fuelling facility which will help in the creation of sustainable mobility solutions for all Australians, with the capacity to produce up to 80kg of hydrogen per day while serving as a commercial-grade refuelling outlet for commercial and passenger fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

The Hydrogen Centre also features servicing facilities for the Mirai FCEV and an education centre where visitors can learn about how hydrogen fuel works, and the benefits it can bring to wider society.

Product Centre teams will be able to make use of the 1.4km-long Autodrome test track facility, a valuable tool to help fine-tune vehicles for Australian roads and driving conditions.

The 55,000m2 Parts Centre houses 1.5 million parts and is capable of delivering 26,000 parts every day to dealerships.

The CoE now houses more than half of Toyota's workforce including Guest First, People & Business Development and Aftersales (Parts & Accessories) bringing together employees from across Toyota Australia.

Going forward, the CoE will be used to help promote the future of mobility and connected technology for Toyota.

The CoE is built on the traditional land of the Boonwurrung people, and Toyota Australia pays its respects to its Elders, past, present and emerging.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Emily Haseloff
Public Affairs Manager
0437 811 508

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Toyota Australia's product teams have long played a significant role in crafting new models, concept vehicles and Toyota Genuine Accessories, providing customers with outstanding products developed in our own backyard.

Spearheading these projects are the Product Design, Conversions and Accessories (C&A) and Vehicle Evaluation and Development (VED) departments, that have previously been responsible for vehicles including the Sportivo Coupe concept car and the acclaimed HiLux Rugged X.

Combining all departments in the Product Centre at Altona, the Product Design, C&A and VED teams work alongside one another, fostering a stronger culture of collaboration.

As one of 13 global centres for Toyota Genuine Accessories, the C&A team is responsible for producing a wide range of tough and durable accessories for multiple models, including the recently launched all-new LandCruiser 300 Series.

Senior Manager Conversions and Accessories Stephen Castles, said the work done by the C&A team on Genuine Toyota Accessories goes "truly above and beyond" anything the aftermarket can offer in terms of development, testing and validation of the accessory and vehicle as a system.

The C&A team has a range of high-tech equipment at its disposal to ensure the highest level of accessory validation, such as the environmental chambers that can simulate extreme hot and cold temperatures, as well as high and low humidity conditions.

Millions of cycles of vibration tests are carried out, mimicking road corrugations to ensure accessories like bullbars can cope with the physical rigours of outback travel.

The team collects and logs data using strain gauges to measure the amount of stress being put on not only the accessories like bullbars, nudge bars and antennas, but also the vehicle itself to ensure the Toyota Genuine Accessories provide protection and integration for the entire vehicle.

Being based next to the Altona Autodrome will also optimise efficiencies, with the C&A team relying on the wave road for simulating driving on corrugated roads.

With nearly 40 employees on site, C&A creates accessories not only for the Australian market, but also for export to other markets including New Zealand, Europe and South Africa.

One such product is the electric roller cover standard on the HiLux Rogue, which was created here in Australia and is also offered in South Africa and Europe.

Although the team's work focusses on 4WD vehicles that have higher rates of accessory fitment, the C&A team also develop accessories for passenger cars, SUVs and Lexus vehicles.

Adjacent to the C&A team at the new Product Centre is the Product Design department with 42 staff, which has also relocated from Port Melbourne to its new home.

With a fresh start on what was once the engine plant, the new, single level space offered a unique opportunity to create an efficient and exciting workspace.

Key to this, is the indoor viewing area, a bespoke, controlled environment with three indoor turntables. Featuring studio-quality diffused lighting and high, curved ceilings it can be used not only to evaluate new designs, but also for photography and vehicle launch purposes. An outdoor viewing area is also included when natural daylight evaluation is required.

The new design studio features two full size modelling plates where creative designers, studio engineers, clay and digital modellers operate seamlessly together to create ever better designs.

Combining traditional, hand-based design methods with state-of-the-art virtual techniques, team members can extract the best of both worlds. Virtual design with international partners is increasingly prevalent, and the new studio is equipped with all necessary tools to facilitate seamless development.

The new fabrication area facilitates not only traditional design studio activities but can support the wider company with a vast array of prototyping capabilities.

Key to this is two full size, 5 axis CNC milling machines with increased automation, and therefore efficiency. 3D printing is becoming increasingly important, and the new facility houses ten, state of the art machines.

Traditional metal and wood fabrication functions are now bolstered with digital methods, utilising computer controlled programming. Finishing work is now done in a new, environmentally friendly spray booth, using the latest waterborne technology, exclusively.

Product Design not only works on local development, but partners with Toyota Technical Centres around the world, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. Products styled in Australia make their way to most corners of the globe, a testament to the commitment Toyota Australia has made, continuing to be competitive on the world stage.

The new Product Centre is the next chapter in that journey to continue designing ever-better products both for Australia and abroad.


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With one of the most extreme and varied landscapes in the world, Australia is the perfect country for Toyota to fine-tune the legendary vehicles.

With 80 per cent of global road conditions available for testing in Australia, it is no surprise that Toyota Australia's Vehicle Evaluation and Development (VED) group are heavily relied upon to provide evaluation and real-world testing for Toyota's global engineering teams, helping shape models like the LandCruiser, HiLux and Prado.

At the new Product Centre, the vehicle evaluation arm provides valuable testing and development insights for Toyota Motor Company (TMC) when evaluating its revered off-road vehicles.

Toyota Manager Research, Evaluation and Training Ray Munday said that local testing and evaluation meant that Toyota 4WDs are capable of standing the test of time in the harshest of Australian environments.

"Undertaking development of these heavy-duty 4WDs in Australia, in a number of different usage conditions, is the ideal testing and development environment," Mr Munday said.

"Being one of the oldest geological countries on the planet, we have conditions that are some of the most unique in the world, and these are hard to replicate in a test lab."

For example, local work on the LandCruiser 300 Series began all the way back in 2014, with the VED team ensuring the all-new off-road legend was built to withstand Australian customer usage such as off-road driving, towing in high temperatures and high accessory fitment.

Moving into the new Product Centre, the vehicle evaluation work area has been optimised for efficiency, safety and best practice, developed over 10 years of experience at the previous facility in Notting Hill.

The new facility includes six open work bays, and eight upgraded vehicle hoists rated to 4.5 tonnes.

The VED department also does a body of work benchmarking both Toyota vehicles and competitors.

Along with subjective human feedback from a team of experts, a raft of high-tech equipment is also used, including steering input robots, a laser wheel aligner, a shock absorber dynamometer, and unique measurement machines developed in-house.

A bespoke suspension articulation rig developed by VED provides accurate articulation and centre-of-gravity measurements, while a leaf-spring compressor created by the Product Design team provides VED with further unique suspension testing capability.

The undulating nature of Australian roads gives VED an opportunity to fine-tune suspension to ensure a smooth and compliant ride for our unique road conditions.

VED works closely with the C&A team, providing strategic insights into accessory development that will only strengthen with the two teams now operating under the same roof.

Also located within the CoE is the Toyota Conversions (T-Con) department, which serves as a full assembly line for the locally developed HiLux Rugged X and regionally developed HiLux Rogue.

Originally based at Webb Dock from 2017-2020, the T-Con facility is a small-scale Toyota production line. Under the remit of Toyota's Guest First division, T-Con follows the Toyota Production System (TPS), consisting of a station-by-station assembly line for the two HiLux models and adhering to the same manufacturing standards and processes of a Toyota facility.

The flagship HiLux variants are shipped from the factory in Thailand, and upon reaching T-Con are fitted with the various bespoke components such as bullbars, bash plate, recovery points and motorised roller cover (HiLux Rogue only) that feature on the two models.

T-Con is seen as a shining example of the TPS ethos that is used by Toyota for training purposes both internally and by other businesses.

Grouping all the new facilities together ensures the new CoE will continue to strengthen Toyota's automotive leadership in Australia, bringing together excellent people to achieve excellent outcomes through local expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and the spirit of kaizen.


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