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Toyota Japan Embarks On 18,000km Test Drive Around Australia Photo:

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Mike Stevens | Sep, 03 2014 | 1 Comment

Several Toyota Australia staff will join engineers from the carmaker’s Japanese headquarters on a new cross-country training and development project.

Covering 18,000km and a range of environments, the 10-week journey will be used to guide the design and specification of future models.

Toyota says it has deployed more than 30 global development staff, who will also benefit from unique training during the project.

A number of current Toyota models will be used, from the city-living Corolla to the off-roading HiLux and LandCruiser.

Australia has historically been popular with global carmakers for prototype testing, thanks to its hugely varied climates and a broad range of on- and off-road surface types.

Toyota Australia boss Dave Buttner said today that Australia offers a key advantage, with its mixed terrain believed to offer “at least” 80 percent of the road surface types and conditions found on the planet.

"It is vital that Toyota's leading vehicle development personnel get back to basics, experiencing first-hand what it takes to continue satisfying customers with ever-better cars,” he said.

Australia has also proved an important region for Toyota, with the early success of the LandCruiser propelling sales internationally.

We were also the first country outside of Japan to take the Corolla, and the first to build Toyota engines outside of the brand’s homeland.

Toyota Australia sales chief Tony Cramb added:

"This extensive project will ultimately enhance Toyota's ability to provide Australian motorists with vehicles that are even better suited to our conditions and are more engaging to drive.”

"We expect that feedback from local dealers and customers around this vast continent will also contribute to the development of ever-better cars," he said.

The project will be welcome news for Toyota Australia, with the company now making its way through the early stages of ending its local production and development programs.

Toyota announced a 2017 end-date for Australian production in February, and confirmed in May that its local development facility would also be wound down.

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