Toyota awarded $4M grant to move 250 jobs to Washtenaw County

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News
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The Michigan Strategic Fund awarded Toyota Motor Corp. a $4 million grant Tuesday to move 250 purchasing jobs from Kentucky to its Toyota Technical Center in Washtenaw County’s York Township.

According to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the project will involve a capital investment of up to $32.5 million.

The Japanese automaker said in April it would move the purchasing jobs to Michigan as it shifts its headquarters from California to Texas. Toyota is consolidating its North American operations.

The new workers will require Toyota to construct a new building on the center’s campus. The average weekly wage for the new positions is expected to be about $1,800, the MEDC said.

“The Toyota Technical Center has been the driving force behind our engineering and R&D activities in North America for more than 35 years, so I am pleased and proud that we will continue to grow these operations,” Simon Nagata, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America Inc., said in a statement. “We look forward to strengthening our ties with Michigan even further and making continued investments that will help drive the success of both Toyota, our supplier partners and the state for many years to come.”

It’s unclear how many new purchasing jobs will be created or how many of the 250 positions will be filled by Kentucky workers. The move will happen by the end of 2016 or beginning of 2017, Nagata said at an auto conference in early August.

Toyota now employs about 1,100 workers in Michigan, Nagata said.

In addition to the new grant, Toyota received a State Education Tax Abatement with an estimated value of $1.3 million.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement, “Toyota’s decision demonstrates how Michigan’s highly competitive business climate and premier manufacturing workforce can help automakers and other industries grow.”

Toyota does much of the research and development for U.S. models in Michigan, overseeing development for the Avalon, Camry, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, Venza and RAV4 EV. Established in 1977, the Toyota Technical Center has facilities in Ann Arbor, Saline, Plymouth and Livonia.

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