Zaventem, Belgium – Toyota has announced that it will invest $123 million in its European Technical Centre in Belgium, the first step in a two-phase expansion plan that will initially create 250 new jobs. Starting in 2009, the company will establish a test track for development purposes, introduce new test equipment, and renovate the premises to create additional workshop space.

The company’s total investment in its European R&D now exceeds $306 million.

“Our new and expanded R&D capability will ensure that technological developments are closely matched to European driving conditions, standards and tastes,” said Kazuhiko Miyadera, senior vice-president of R&D at Toyota Europe.

The new three-lane test track will be 1.3 km long and include different driving surfaces and slopes reflecting European road conditions. The expansion will be managed according to strict eco-friendly design and construction criteria, with up to 80 per cent of demolition materials recycled and reused on-site. Toyota Europe is also investigating the use of geothermal energy and solar panels to limit the centre’s dependency on fossil fuels and improve energy efficiency.

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