Toyota has announced that it will pour $28m into its technical centres at Ann Arbor, Michigan. The move comes as the company seeks to expand its North American operations, with its top US sales executive stating that Toyota aims to construct some of its Prius hybrids in the region. 

Currently, around 70% of all vehicles sold by the group in the US are assembled there too, and this latest spend reflects a desire to continue this pattern.
In a statement made last week, Toyota said it planned to add to the existing 1,200 workers it employs in Michigan by adding 60 new staff to various centres in the surrounding vicinity. Despite having been in Ann Arbor for 36 years, the new investment will add substantially to the existing $1.3 billion stake the company provides for the state. 

Bob Carter, senior vice president for Toyota Motor Sales, said that the move came amidst an increasing inclination toward “building where you sell”. He said: “It’s part of an overall corporate philosophy…[.] Part of the reason is that it shields you from currency fluctuations.”

New model production of the Toyota Avalon, Sienna, Vemza and Tundra have been underway at Ann Arbor, overseen by engineers whom Toyota has given responsibility for new cars, trucks and minivans. These are amongst nine completely new or redesigned models that the automoaker is introducing this year. 

The investment comes at an opportune moment for Toyota. Sales have topped Ford’s in the US for the past two months. The group’s market share has jumped from 12.9% in 2011 to 14.4% in 2012. Carter said he expected this trend in volume growth to continue.