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Toyota quits: Axe hangs over tech centre

Uncertain future: Toyota’s Australian Technical Centre could scale back its operations following the announcement that the Japanese car-maker will shut its Altona plant in 2017.

Toyota Technical Centre moots “reduction in scale” of its global role

10 Feb 2014

TOYOTA’S specialist technical and design skunkworks that provides support to the car-maker’s global operations has warned it may need to cull workers as manufacturing operations wind down.

A statement from Toyota Technical Centre Australia president Max Gillard released late today said Toyota Australia’s decision to quit manufacturing in 2017 “may result in a reduction in the size and scale of work undertaken” at the 140-employee-strong Melbourne-based centre.

Mr Gillard said TTC-Au would need time to determine the impact of Toyota’s decision “and any effect on the scale of the business considering the scale-back of projects related to the local production of Camry, Camry Hybrid and Aurion” at Altona.

“The team at TTC-Au is deeply saddened by today’s announcement signalling the end of Toyota Australia’s Altona manufacturing operations by the end of 2017 and in consideration of that, we will now work with TMC to decide our own future direction and plans as soon as possible,” he said.

The $47 million centre, established in 2003, has been largely responsible for the localised design and suspension tuning of the current-generation Camry and Aurion models, despite briefly handing back responsibility to Japan in 2005.

Since then, it has established a role as part of a network of centres providing highly technical engineering services to Toyota’s worldwide manufacturing operations.

Its initial focus was on passenger car design and development, however it has since diversified into body and chassis engineering, electronics and vehicle evaluation.

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