Toyota has revealed a new platform that will underpin its future cars

Toyota has unveiled a new global vehicle architecture that the company says will "greatly improve vehicle performance and product appeal", as well as cutting development costs and massively reducing the complexity of its current global model range.

Known as the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the system is a kit of "lighter, more compact" components that will be used for a new generation of vehicles covering front and rear-wheel drive and a new, "much higher efficiency" powertrain family.

The Japanese car maker also promises much-improved handling, thanks to a lower-mounted powertrain. This, according to Toyota, endows TNGA cars with the lowest centre of gravity of any mainstream rival.

As many as 50% of all Toyota’s output by 2020 will use the TNGA architecture. This will offer a huge cost saving and reduction in complexity for Toyota, which says it currently has around "100 platforms and sub-platforms".

Toyota says the TNGA structures will be 30-65% stiffer than today’s models. That should feed into better ride and handling as well as improved crash safety.

The new TNGA engines are "much more" thermally efficient, offering around 15% more power and - in conjunction with more efficient automatic and CVT transmissions – offer as much as 25% better fuel economy.

The "fifth generation" hybrid powertrain that is bundled with TNGA is claimed to be 15% more economical than today’s Toyota hybrid models.

This new powertain family will also reduce the huge complexity of Toyota’s global engine line-up. The company estimates that, taking into account different emissions regulations and way the units are mounted in a particular platform, it has around 800 different engines.

The common parts in the TNGA architecture are almost entirely hidden from view. It covers the front end and crash structure, the actual floor structure and the rear floor and rear crash structure. Also included are the front and rear suspension systems, the whole powertrain, the radiator position, the heating and climate control unit and the steering system.

Inside, the seat frames are common but can be sited at five different heights, allowing the TNGA kit to cover all types of vehicles from superminis to MPVs.

According to Toyota, the only common visible parts in the cabin will be the steering wheel, touchscreen, gear selector and foot pedals. On the outside, the only common parts will be the door mirrors and the Toyota badge.

This, it’s claimed, will give Toyota’s operations in the various global markets the ability to completely customise vehicles to local tastes.

Previously, Toyota’s development system allowed vehicle line chief engineers to customise platforms and powertrains when developing new models. This was the main reason for the massive proliferation in platforms and powertrains.

From now, the chief engineers will use the TNGA toolkit and invest more in meeting local market demands and delivering the ‘eye-catching design’ that Toyota bosses insist has to mark out all future models.

The first TNGA-based car will be a "front-drive, medium-size model" launched later this year. Although Toyota officials wouldn’t give any further details, the TNGA architecture on display at its Honsha facility was Auris-sized and had independent rear suspension.

According to the company, investment in a TNGA model will be around 40% lower than a similar model from 2008. However, as much as 75% of this saving will be invested in what Toyota says is its new mission statement of "making ever-better cars".

While not being specific, it seems that this extra cash will go into more sophisticated technical specifications – possibly including low-cost autonomous safety equipment - and niceties such as higher-quality slush-moulded dashboards, touchscreens on all models and improved trim materials.

Toyota says the TNGA development ultimately underpins its corporate desire to build cars that are seen as more than efficient and reliable, but deliver driving pleasure and innovative design.

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Comments
18

26 March 2015
First there was MQB now there is TNGA. I hope Toyota won't bore us with the details as VW did. Still does. Just give us good affordable cars.

26 March 2015
fadyady wrote:

...the details...

You might want to try another mag/website. Like the People's Friend, maybe?

26 March 2015
No-one ever really explained what iStream was or is.

26 March 2015
The bit that caught my interest was the re-investment into the quality and materials of the interiors. That and the handling improvements really could bring the fight to the Germans. VW should be nervous.

26 March 2015
It must have been about 20 years ago when VW was saying the same thing. One more thing they should do is HIRE A DECENT STYLIST...

I remember way, way back when Toyota were the model other companies were trying to emulate. Seems like a LONG time ago.

26 March 2015
Couldn't agree more. The latest idea of a protruding snot that is appearing on recently revised Toyotas is truly horrible. The Hydrogen powered FCV is just hideous all over, not just the front. Maybe Toyota are trying to make their cars distinctive so that they cannot be mistaken for anything else, but you only have to look at VW's cars to realise that that is not the only way to go. Glad to see that they have finally realised that they need to upgrade the interior materials/plastics to make their range more appealing and to catch up with almost everyone else.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

27 March 2015
Meant to refer to the Toyota Mirai as their hydrogen car, not the Honda one. My mind must be going ....


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

26 March 2015
Thirty years ago, Toyota manufactured mainly dull cars that were simply unmatched in their build quality and reliability, and that was enough for many buyers, who became very loyal to the brand. Today, after so many high-profile recalls, they've largely lost this USP and I for one have no idea what distinguishes the brand anymore. Their cringe-worthy slogan for the Aygo is emblematic of the degree to which they've lost their way. I realise this model is aimed primarily at young drivers, but trying to be edgy and hip is just embarrassing, akin to dad-dancing at a wedding, for such a conservative company. I do hope this marks a better future where they can reestablish their reputation, but it will be tough: the Koreans really have stolen a march on them.

26 March 2015
Daniel Joseph wrote:

Today, after so many high-profile recalls, they've largely lost this USP and I for one have no idea what distinguishes the brand anymore.

Really? Toyota still seem to have a decent reputation for reliability. Their preference to get the world out about recalls instead of the usual 'sneak it in on a service' attitude is definitely to their credit.

Daniel Joseph wrote:

Their cringe-worthy slogan for the Aygo is emblematic of the degree to which they've lost their way. I realise this model is aimed primarily at young drivers, but trying to be edgy and hip is just embarrassing, akin to dad-dancing at a wedding, for such a conservative company.

As a young, if not particularly hip, person I'd say Toyota were about mid-field. Fairly forward looking in their range with lots of hybrids as well as maintaining one or two wild flagships like the GT86 and Land Cruiser. They are off the pace in a couple of areas but I could easily see myself buying several recent or current Toyotas if they met my requirements.

They don't have a USP as a brand, but few do today. The idea of brand loyalty has died a death (hooray!) and it's much more about the individual car models.

26 March 2015
EndlessWaves wrote:

As a young, if not particularly hip, person I'd say Toyota were about mid-field. Fairly forward looking in their range with lots of hybrids as well as maintaining one or two wild flagships like the GT86 and Land Cruiser. They are off the pace in a couple of areas but I could easily see myself buying several recent or current Toyotas if they met my requirements. They don't have a USP as a brand, but few do today. The idea of brand loyalty has died a death (hooray!) and it's much more about the individual car models.

That's a very interesting perspective, particularly for someone like me who's neither young nor hip! The point I was trying to make was that Toyota was a revelation back in the late 70's and early 80's in comparison with many contemporary European makes. Their build quality and reliability were in a different league (and provided a credible platform for the development of Lexus). I guess that, in the intervening decades, the industry standards in both regards have improved immeasurably and it is much more difficult to distinguish between brands (with a few notable exceptions on the downside!). I'm particularly intrigued by your comments regarding brands versus individual models. If your contemporaries share this viewpoint, then maybe the received wisdom amongst marketing types that establishing strong brands and brand values is the holy grail as regards selling to young, affluent consumers is wide of the mark. Perhaps it's only old timers like me that still declere themselves to be loyal to a particular brand (in my case, Porsche, cheaper and less trouble than other manifestations of a mid-life crisis!)

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