Toyota Completes Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama Research and Development Facility for Making Ever-better Cars

Driving vehicle development as a place where roads refine cars and the people who make cars

Toyota City, Japan ? Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) announced today that it commenced full operation of its research and development facility, Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama, located in a mountainous area straddling the cities of Toyota and Okazaki, on March 25, 2024. The facility will drive vehicle development as Toyota strives to build ever-better cars, serving as a place where roads refine cars and the people who make them by enabling cars to be thoroughly tested on exacting test courses with numerous elevation differences and curves that take advantage of Shimoyama’s natural terrain.

Construction of the facility began in April 2018 following site development work. The central area, which features a country road test course, began operation in April 2019, followed by the eastern area, which features a high-speed test course and a specialized test course reproducing particular road conditions around the world, in October 2021. The development of new models has been carried out at the facility, such as the Lexus IS announced in 2020, enabling the delivery of vehicles that have been refined on test courses to customers around the world.

The western area, which features a new vehicle development building and a visitor building, has now been completed and commenced full operation.

The vehicle development building serves as a business and development center for Lexus and GR companies. Emulating the look and feel of a pit at the Nürburgring, members from all functions, including planning and design, development and engineering, and prototyping and evaluation, will gather in one place and develop cars together to find issues by driving them on the test courses and repeatedly making improvements. Cutting-edge digital equipment will also be used to promote agile development by integrating real car manufacturing with digital technology.

The visitor building will be a place for co-creation beyond boundaries with business partners and suppliers. It will serve as an open environment for innovation, encouraging new ideas through close interaction with cars in a way that is only possible at a development center.

Environmental conservation was a foremost consideration in the construction of the Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama. Around 60 percent of the total site area (approx. 650 hectares) consists of preserved original trees and greenery, in addition to newly developed green spaces. Full consideration was given to maintaining and managing the natural environment.

In March 2023, the Environmental Learning Center was completed in the eastern area. It is being used as a place to interact with the local community for environmental conservation, including satoyama?a Japanese term referring to maintained hills and forests near communities that form a vital part of their sustainable ecosystem?experience events.

Toyota intends to continue cooperating with experts, local governments, and members of the local community in the vicinity of the facility to conduct environmental conservation initiatives in the forests and valley bottom rice fields?called yatsuda in Japanese?of this valuable satoyama ecosystem. In doing so, Toyota will promote coexistence with communities as a facility in harmony with nature.

Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda made the following remarks at the unveiling ceremony held today to mark the commencement of full operation: “It has been nearly 30 years since the conceptualization of this project began. We have been committed to making this facility a place that would bring smiles to the faces of everyone living in the community and make them happy that Toyota came to Shimoyama. This ‘everyone’ includes not only the humans who are here today but also the plants and animals who have lived here even longer. We have received a great deal of cooperation from Aichi Prefecture, Toyota City, Okazaki City, and other government agencies in our efforts to coexist with this community. We would also like to thank all the residents of the Shimoyama and Matsudaira areas for their great understanding and support during the long construction period and for the many years to come. Around 3,000 people, including development members and test drivers from GR and Lexus, will drive, break, and improve cars here. The more we drive and break cars, the ever-better they become. As a master driver myself, I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time driving around the roads of Shimoyama. The roads of Shimoyama make the car… Although it is not a production plant, Shimoyama-made cars will drive on every road in the world and bring smiles to many people’s faces. We would like to express our gratitude for everyone’s support and once more express Toyota’s dedication to making ever-better cars, which will accelerate even more in Shimoyama. Thank you again for your cooperation throughout this project.”

Outline of Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama

LocationArea including parts of Toyota City (formerly the village of Shimoyama) and Okazaki City (formerly the town of Nukata)
Area breakdown
ApplicationAreaProportion of total area
Facility sites159.2 hectares24%
Roads7.1 hectares1%
Reservoirs, other16.2 hectares3%
Developed green spaces81.8 hectares13%
Preserved trees and greenery386.5 hectares59%
Total area650.8 hectares
(6.508 km2)
100%
Operators
Site development
Aichi Public Enterprise Bureau
Facility construction
Toyota Motor Corporation
Main facilities
  • Central area
    Country road test course
  • Eastern area
    High-speed test course, Specialized test courses
  • Western area
    Vehicle development building, Visitor building
InvestmentApproximately 300 billion yen
Number of employeesApproximately 3,000 (as of full operation commencement in March 2024)