Mitsubishi Motors is tipping about $400 million into a major renovation of its research and development (R&D) centre in Okazaki, in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture.
Among the upgrades will be the rebuilding of the three main facilities: the main office building, environmental testing facility and the wind tunnel.
“Investment in this project is to be around 33 billion yen. The office building and the environment testing facility are due for completion in fall of 2018, and the wind tunnel testing facility at the beginning of 2020,” MMC said.
“Improvements in the work environment and the introduction of the latest equipment will strengthen the company’s research and development capabilities, and MMC will move forward to revamp R&D structure for creating next-generation models.”
This news will be music to the ears of people watching the company’s patchy model rollout of late.
The company is strong in plug-in hybrids, small SUVs and commercials, but has axed core cars like the Lancer Evo as part of a pivot towards LCVs and SUVs, and has some other aged key product such as the Pajero/Shogun.
It’s now about one year since fellow Japanese car-maker Nissan took a controlling share in MMC, promising product tie-ups would be part of the package.
The rebuilt 8-story office building will have a cafeteria and a large conference hall available inside, with space for 700 people. It will have a layout that gives consideration to ease of movement between floors so as to facilitate cross-functional activities.
The building is scheduled to provide meeting space for better communication. Some 2000 employees will be working in design, development, certification and testing.
The environment testing facility will simulate real-life environments and allow the engineers to conduct tests in conditions that include extreme cold temperature (- 40°C) and extreme hot temperature (+ 50°C) as well as under natural sunlight and in snow.
The new large-scale wind tunnel will be equipped with a moving belt function that can simulate complex real-life driving situations and will be used to improve aerodynamic characteristics, environmental performance and noise levels.
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