As part of its commitment to mobility and helping people find better ways to go places, Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (TMNA) today announced several changes to its organization to further improve unprecedented changes to the automotive landscape.

Effective immediately, TMNA will establish a Manufacturing Project Innovation Center (MPIC), a new group based at its headquarters to be led by Mike Bafan, group vice president. Bafan will remain chairman of Toyota Motor Manufacturing de Baja California (TMMBC) and Toyota Motor Manufacturing de Guanajuato (TMMGT).

MPIC will focus on strategic manufacturing initiatives related to mobility transformation; CASE (connected, autonomous, shared, electric) technologies; benchmarking; and advanced processing initiatives that incorporate new technology at the company’s 15 North American manufacturing facilities. MPIC will report directly to Christopher Reynolds, chief administration officer, manufacturing and corporate resources.

TMNA will assign manufacturing leaders to align and improve the operational speed and transformation at its North American vehicle plants based on platforms and common architectures as follows:

  • Susan Elkington will assume additional responsibility as passenger car and SUV platform leader in addition to her current role, president, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK). Elkington will have responsibilities for platform and operational alignments for TMMK, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada; Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana; and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi.
  • Kevin Voelkel will assume additional responsibility as truck platform leader in addition to his current role, president, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (TMMTX). Voelkel will have responsibilities for platform and operational alignments for TMMTX; TMMBC; TMMGT; and Toyota Auto Body California.

Elkington and Voelkel will continue to report to Brian Krinock, senior vice president, vehicle manufacturing and production engineering.

“These improvements will enable our manufacturing team to better respond to our customers’ needs as we transform our business into a world-class mobility company,” said Reynolds.  “We are more confident than ever that we’re at the leading-edge of our industry’s transformation and have positioned ourselves for long-term, sustainable success.”

With more than $27 billion in direct U.S. investment, including 10 U.S. plants, Toyota has committed to invest $13 billion more in the U.S. by 2021.