TRANSPORTATION : Toyota Will Expand Its Newport Center

Toyota Motor Corp. said it will expand its North American automotive design center in Newport Beach with a $17-million facility that will focus on long-range planning.

The 85,400-square-foot building will be next to Calty Design Research Inc. on Jamboree Road.

The new facility will be used to develop advanced design proposals and for research on North American life style and trends, the company said.

All of the major car makers have design centers in Southern California because they consider the Southland to be the trend-setting center of the United States.

Calty, which opened in 1973, is Toyota's first design plant built outside of Japan. Three other automobile makers have design centers in Orange County: Mazda in Irvine, Mitsubishi in Cypress and Subaru in Garden Grove.

Toyota said the Calty expansion is part of a $144-million effort to bolster sales, distribution, product research and development.

As part of that program, Toyota also opened a new regional sales headquarters in Irvine, is expanding its technical center branch in Ann Arbor, Mich., and last month broke ground for a technical center headquarters in Torrance.

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