Toyota Plans Arizona Proving Ground

From Associated Press

Toyota Motor Corp., Japan's largest auto maker, said Monday that it plans to build a huge proving ground northwest of Phoenix, Ariz., to help develop cars and trucks mainly for the U.S. market.

The company's California-based U.S. marketing arm, Toyota Motor Sales, said in a news release that it had filed papers for permission to build the complex about 45 miles northwest of Phoenix.

Chrysler Corp. operates a proving ground near Wickenburg, Ariz.

Construction is to begin next year, with the complex becoming operational in 1993 if land purchases and permit applications proceed as expected, said company spokeswoman Deborah Sanchez Fair.

The complex will cover about 12,000 acres and will include a 10-mile, high-speed oval track, other shorter tracks with a variety of road conditions and an airstrip for flying in cars and trucks to be tested, she said.

"Vehicle evaluation is the primary focus, especially hot weather conditions," she said. "Chiefly, we'll be testing products for the U.S. market, but it will not be limited to that."

Toyota officials declined to estimate the cost of the track or the land acquisition.

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