Toyota Motor Corp. Australia Ltd. signs a A$29 million ($17.1 million) contract for construction of its new corporate headquarters in Port Melbourne.

Total investment in the 3-story building is set at A$50 million ($29.4 million), and Toyota expects to move in during first quarter 2004.

Toyota Australia President Ken Asano says the new facility will serve to reinforce the auto maker’s reputation as a major employer and supporter of the Australian economy.

"The new building will increase operational efficiency and enhance our image of leadership and success," Asano is quoted as saying. "This project also provides the opportunity for Toyota Australia to review its business practices and make improvements consistent with the long-established plan to develop as a competitive participant in the global automotive industry."