The Shimoyama facility is now fully operational following the completion of the vehicle development and visitor centre buildings.


3rd April 2024


The Driving Signature of all future Lexus vehicles will be honed at a newly completed 300 billion yen (3.04 billion AUD) technical centre in central Japan.

The high-tech facility at Shimoyama in the Aichi Prefecture is now fully functional following the opening of a new vehicle development building that will serve as the new home for Lexus, including its business operations and vehicle planning and evaluation.

Shimoyama incorporates a new visitor complex designed to support collaboration with business partners and suppliers.

It also features three exacting test tracks that take advantage of the numerous elevation differences and curves of Shimoyama's natural terrain. The challenging topography is ideal for testing and developing Lexus vehicles as engineers pursue the faithful handling and confidence-inspiring dynamic responses that define the Lexus Driving Signature.

Construction of the technical centre began in April 2018 with a country road-test course commencing operation in April 2019. A high-speed track and a section dedicated to simulating unique road conditions from countries around the world opened in October 2021.

The new development building is designed to impart Lexus planners, designers, developers and engineers with the feeling of being in the pits at the famous Nürburgring racetrack. But, instead of air hoses and rattle guns, Lexus experts have access to cutting-edge digital technology integrated with proven vehicle manufacturing processes to quicken development times.

The visitor building will be a place for co-creation beyond boundaries with business partners and suppliers. It will serve as an open environment for innovation, encouraging new ideas through close interaction with cars in a way that is only possible at a development centre.

Environmental conservation was a foremost consideration in the construction of the facility. Around 60 per cent of the total site area (approx. 650 hectares) consists of preserved original trees and greenery, in addition to newly developed green spaces. Full consideration was given to maintaining and managing the natural environment.

The complex includes an environmental learning centre, opened in March 2023, where the local community can explore environmental conservation initiatives.

Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda said it had been almost 30 years since the Shimoyama concept was born.

"We have been committed to making this facility a place that would bring smiles to the faces of everyone living in the community," Mr Toyoda said.

"'Everyone includes not only the humans here today but also the plants and animals who have lived here even longer," he said.

The Shimoyama facility will employ around 3,000 people, including development members and test drivers who will "drive, break and improve cars" from Lexus and other business units.

"The more we drive and break cars, the ever-better they become. As a master driver myself, I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time driving around the roads of Shimoyama."

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