Toyota Motor Europe (TME) has opened its own proving ground at the TME Technical Centre, in Zaventem, Belgium. The proving ground, aimed at enhancing the role of Toyota’s European vehicle research and development, took two and a half years to complete. The latest expansion cost EUR47m and is, the company said, a new illustration of Toyota’s long-term commitment to Europe, and to Belgium where it is based.

The new facility will play an important role for Toyota’s European vehicle development as part of the company’s long-term vision to become Toyota’s global development centre for the small and compact vehicle segments. The proving ground and its accompanying facilities cover a total of 65,000 m² at the technical centre, which measures 187,000 m² in total. Toyota currently employs 770 staff at the centre, of which 430 work in research and development. To date, Toyota has invested EUR167m there.

TME President and CEO, Didier Leroy, said: “Thanks to the new proving ground, we will make use of our unique positioning and our facilities as a laboratory for new innovations in a faster and more efficient way, so that we can develop the right car for our European customers, right here, in the heart of Europe.”

Aside from a 1.4 kilometre oval test track, the multi-purpose proving ground also features a 90m diameter skid pad, harshness road, noise road and a lane for brake tests. The facilities allow engineers in Europe to perform a wide variety of tests such as: ride comfort, road noise and vibration, vehicle strength, cornering, engine performance and brake performance. Situated in close proximity to the main workshops and offices at the technical centre, the proving ground will see the majority of all vehicle testing performed on site. The re-creation of existing road surfaces means testing can be done in an efficient manner and under a controlled environment. The proving ground will facilitate an even faster response to market demand and vehicle assessment.