Toyota’s CEO on its New Experience Center: ‘It’s Really the Exclamation Point of Our Move Here to Texas’

The 44,000-square-foot Toyota Experience Center at the auto manufacturer's Plano headquarters is now open, complete with actual cars, virtual reality, an innovation gallery, and even human support robots. It's a representation of teamwork, company culture, talent, and the spirit of "One Toyota." For now, it's for employees and their guests, but get an inside look here.

Toyota clearly cares about company culture. Two years ago, the automotive manufacturer moved its North American headquarters to a massive 2 million-square-foot campus in Plano. Now, it’s punctuating the final phase of the move by way of 44,000 square feet dedicated to what Toyota values most: its employees.

The Toyota Experience Center (TEC) is a holistic manifestation of the spirit of “One Toyota.” Each individual exhibit reveals various work facets of the company, from manufacturing to environmental initiatives to R&D.

But together, the exhibits foster the collaborative teamwork that Toyota places such high value on.

It’s a museum of sorts, but don’t refer to it as the Toyota Museum. Because as Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz put it, the Experience Center is “much, much more.”

“You’ll learn we have about 1,000 different acronyms. So this is the latest: the TEC,” Lentz said at the grand opening of the Center. “It’s a great demonstration to all of our new team members, as well as the team members that have been here a long, long time like myself, of who we are as a company, what our core values are as a company, and what we’ve been able to accomplish together.”

Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz welcomed guests at the grand opening. [Photo: Courtesy Toyota]

[Photo: Courtesy Toyota]

The TEC is intended to instill a sense of ownership and pride to those who traverse the extensive halls at the Toyota HQ. That’s more than 4,000 people.

It also embodies the company’s past and present, while unveiling a glimpse into the future. The stories that unfold in the TEC depicts what Lentz said is “Toyota’s transformation from a loom company to our humble beginnings as a car company here in the U.S. more than 60 years ago to our efforts to become a mobility company for the future.”

“[Toyota has a] a six decade history here in the United States, a rich history, including the opening of their North American headquarters right here in Plano, only two years ago,” U.S. Congressman Van Taylor (R-TX 3rd District)—who Lentz dubbed “Toyota’s hometown representative”—said at the event. “And I’m reminded of the innovation, the adaptability, and the overall determination to succeed, which has really marked Toyota as a great company.”

U.S. Congressman Van Taylor said Toyota is a “backbone” to the Plano community. [Photo: Dallas Innovates]

Toyota’s state-of-the-art campus combines the company’s North American marketing, sales, engineering, and manufacturing arms. Taylor applauded the workforce development, community sustainability, and inclusive mobility being done in Plano, which can be seen in the space.

“Whether it’s investing and providing educational opportunities for our next generation of workforce leaders, providing improvements for public and private entities to work smarter not harder, or simply to serving those in need, Toyota continues to encourage us to go places,” he said. “This center is going to take visitors—and I hope it will be open to the public soon—on a new, unique journey, providing a visual illustration of this company’s past and its future.”

The TEC is currently a designated space for team members, where they can host friends, family, or business partners. Lentz does envision it eventually opening to the general public or anyone interested in learning more about Toyota. That’s sometime down the road though, because Toyota wants its employees to be the first ones to experience it.

“Our hope is that when team members take a tour of the TEC, it’ll instill a sense of ownership and a sense of pride of what we’ve been able to accomplish together,” Lentz said, “as well as for their continuing contribution to help make our company and transform us from an auto company to a mobility company that I’m confident that we will all accomplish together.”

[Photo: Courtesy Toyota]

A glimpse inside the Toyota Experience Center

Toyota’s new corporate attraction integrates edge technology, architecture, and its people’s stories in one cohesive, interactive environment. There’s a motorsports display. A manufacturing visualization. An innovation gallery. And, there’s even human support robots (you can learn more about that here).

It’s a depiction of employee talent, culture, and what defines Toyota as a company.

“The TEC now and in the future will demonstrate how continuous improvement and transformation is part of Toyota’s DNA,” he said. “That’s why, to me, it’s more than a museum. It’s really the exclamation point of our move here to Texas that began back in 2014.”

Head here to get a walk-through of the space and find more details about what’s inside the Toyota Experience Center.

[Photo: Courtesy Toyota]

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