FOWLERVILLE, Mich. -- Toyota Motor Corp. has its North American technical center in Ann Arbor, Mich., and its related company, Aisin Holdings of America Inc., has a test track here. Can an assembly plant be far behind?
Toyota and Aisin aren't saying. But Toyota is increasing its presence in Michigan. Toyota is buying a 690-acre site in York Township near Ann Arbor and plans to invest $150 million to expand its North American technical center there, adding 400 jobs by 2010. Toyota Technical Center U.S.A. Inc. now operates from a 102-acre site in Ann Arbor.
Don Whitsitt, executive vice president of Aisin World Corp. of America, said a test track and plant don't necessarily go together. "But it is a plus," he said. "From a manufacturing plant perspective, we need to go close to where our customers are."
Michigan has courted Toyota for more than a decade. In 1995, the state made aggressive attempts to lure Toyota's North American headquarters and the truck assembly plant that ended up in Princeton, Inc.
Bruce Brownlee, general manager of corporate planning and external affairs for Toyota Technical Center, said he couldn't comment on the prospect of Toyota bringing an assembly plant to Michigan, but did say, "Who knows what could happen?"
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