DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. plans to hire additional engineers at its technical center in Michigan as the facility plays a bigger role developing models for the U.S.
“The skill level of our U.S. technical center has greatly improved, so we would like to add more people there to help streamline the development of cars to be sold in the U.S.,” Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's executive vice president in charge of research and product development, said in an interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. He didn't elaborate on how many people may be added.
The Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., has taken on increased responsibilities in the past year as the company took steps to improve quality after record recalls battered the brand. Along with developing new cars and trucks, the technical center is researching advanced batteries and working with startup Tesla Motors Inc. to design the all- electric RAV4 crossover vehicle that goes on sale in 2012.
Toyota has about 1,100 employees at Technical Center facilities in Ann Arbor and York, Mich., and in Arizona and California, said Bruce Brownlee, the unit's manager for corporate planning. Last year, the company completed the hiring of 400 engineers that began in about 2008.
“We are absolutely reviewing our resource requirements and anticipate making some additions,” Brownlee said, without elaborating.
Ford Motor Co. said Monday it will hire 750 engineers this year.
Toyota is also investing $50 million in a safety research program that will operate at the Technical Center aimed at reducing traffic deaths and injuries.