ANN ARBOR, MI-Toyota Motor Corp. plans to double its engineering staff in the United States. By increasing engineering jobs here, the automaker hopes to better design vehicles for American tastes.

Toyota is expected to increase the number of engineers working at its technical center near Ann Arbor to 1,000. The expanded technical center should be able to develop upper bodies for three to four vehicles concurrently. The company also plans to build additional engineering facilities.

The research and development center in Ann Arbor is expected to deploy additional engineers to develop pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles specifically for the U.S. market. The vehicles would compete against General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler.

Toyota has been shifting more product-development resources to the United States, where the company makes 70 percent to 80 percent of its overall operating income.