- TNGA: Toyota New Global Architecture Announced
- New Powertrains: Lighter, Lower, More Efficient
- New Tech Joined By Improved Production Competitiveness
The next generation of Toyota models will offer “attractive, low-stance designs, responsive handling, [and] a high-quality drive feel”.
All of this will be thanks to the Japanese giant’s new modular platform, the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), revealed today.
The new architecture, developed in response to Toyota boss Akio Toyoda’s call for a more emotional feel in the company’s future models, will underpin more than half of all models offered by 2020.
That’s no small thing, with the carmaker reported to be using around 100 uniquely modified platforms and sub-platforms across its current global line-up.
Toyota joins a growing number of carmakers building a huge array of models on a small number of shared platforms, including key rival Volkswagen and a growing relationship between the Renault Nissan Alliance and Mercedes parent Daimler.
Toyota has also confirmed a new family of engines, developed as part of the TNGA project. The new engines will be lighter and more compact, more efficient, and positioned for a lower centre of gravity.
"I want 2015 to be a year in which we take steady and bold steps toward sustainable growth,” Toyota president Akio Toyoda said today.
“We can do this by launching new models that incorporate TNGA, and making good use of this intentional pause to strengthen our competitiveness.”
“Based on the new management structure we announced this month, it is important that we improve our true competitiveness, including strengthening our human resources. We aim to be a company that grows sustainably - a tree with a strong trunk."
Introducing TNGA will see future models built from a wide but common set of components, shared across a platform designed from the ground up as a versatile structure that can be easily adjusted to suit models of various sizes and purposes.
The company claims its TNGA-based models will boast a 30 to 65 percent increase in strength and stiffness, compared to its current models, promising better handling, comfort and crash safety in the process.
The new platform has been developed to accommodate not only different vehicle sizes, but also front- and rear-wheel-drive configurations - suggesting that this new platform will also be applied across the premium Lexus range.
Its first appearance will come later this year, with the unveiling of a new midsized front-wheel-drive car.
Details are still to be revealed, but with the newly facelifted Camry expected to soldier on for a while longer, we can likely expect to see Toyota unveil a new European-market Avensis sedan and wagon range.
A separate new sports platform is also being developed with BMW, although that architecture is unlikely to share much with TNGA.
New Powertrain Components
Driving Toyota’s new TNGA-based models will be new lightweight and more compact engines, developed alongside the new platform.
A key focus of this undertaking was to create a lower centre of gravity and to “apply unified design through modularisation”.
The company says that through the new engines, and with improved transmissions, it has improved overall fuel efficiency by around 25 percent, while also increasing outputs by more than 15 percent.
A new fifth-generation hybrid system is also in development, again promising a 15 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.
As with the new platform, the first examples of Toyota’s new engines will debut later this year.
It is unclear if these engines share any significant relationship with the new turbocharged 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine that debuted with the new Lexus NX 200t.
Greater Production Competitiveness
Toyota’s new platform and powertrains will be introduced alongside a move toward a more competitive production system.
The company says it is introducing measures that will result in “simple and slim” production lines, replacing a lot of manufacturing systems with new smaller and lighter ‘floor-top’ versions that promise a more modular design to the factory while reducing costs and ‘tooling up’ time.
By comparison, current equipment must often be suspended from the ceiling or embedded into the plant floor, requiring changes to infrastructure and more time, at a far greater cost.
“Toyota is now approaching the point at which it can expect to reduce initial plant investment by approximately 40 percent compared to 2008 levels,” the company said in a statement.
These improvements are unlikely to be introduced at Toyota's Australian facilities, however, with the company's local manufacturing set to end in 2017.
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