Toyota has announced that it plans to consolidate its North American engineering and manufacturing operations into one company. The new company will be called Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America (TEMA), and will be launched during the first half of 2006.

Atsushi Niimi, currently the head of Toyota's North American manufacturing operations, will lead the transition team establishing TEMA.

"As we see it," Niimi said, "this will be a strategic alliance of our engineering and manufacturing organizations in North America. While there are many details yet to be worked out, we believe this new structure will improve synergies and further strengthen our customer focus and quality, strengthen supplier cooperation, and enhance our overall speed and flexibility.

"Given Toyota's rapid growth in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, this new organization signals the next stage in our development in North America," Niimi continued.

Toyota Technical Centre President Yasuhiko Ichihashi anticipates significant benefits from the new organization. "Our recent completion of the 2004 Sienna and 2004 Solara development programs involved extensive collaborative efforts between our engineers and team members from the manufacturing operations. This new structure will facilitate even more cooperation in the future."

TEMA will operate with three centres:

   - The Toyota Technical Centre will continue to direct R&D activities from Ann Arbor, Michigan;
   - The Toyota Operations Centre will oversee Toyota's manufacturing locations in North America from Erlanger, Kentucky; and
   - The Toyota Planning Centre will oversee planning and administration from Erlanger, Kentucky.

TEMA will utilise existing facilities and workforces and there are currently no plans for a new building to house the combined company. The workforce of the combined organizations, including manufacturing operations, will be approximately 27,000.