Currently reading: Toyota goes back to basics to make 'ever-better cars'
Toyota has revealed a new platform that will underpin its future cars
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3 mins read
26 March 2015

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.

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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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catnip 27 March 2015

Despite all the recalls I

Despite all the recalls I still view Toyota as a producer of reliable, well built vehicles. They don't actually make anything I'd want to buy at the moment, and a big part of that is down to the styling, both inside and out, which just doesn't appeal to me at all.Hopefully in the future that might change, and I know the company is capable of producing cars that are enjoyable to drive, so I could be tempted. But please, no more advertising slogans like the one for the Aygo, which is just embarrassing...
Oilburner 26 March 2015

would you buy one of their cars...

Errm, yes lots of people do. Hence why they're the world's biggest car manufacturer. Have to say, I find Toyota's present range quite bland and way off the mark in terms of handling, interior materials and gadgets. That said, we still bought a Prius and we love it. Incredibly reliable, stupidly cheap running costs and quite likeable if you're able to look past its flaws, of which there are many. It's just a very good car to own and run. Can't say fairer than that.
ordinary bloke 26 March 2015

Oilburner wrote:Errm, yes

Oilburner wrote:

Errm, yes lots of people do. Hence why they're the world's biggest car manufacturer. Have to say, I find Toyota's present range quite bland and way off the mark in terms of handling, interior materials and gadgets. That said, we still bought a Prius and we love it. Incredibly reliable, stupidly cheap running costs and quite likeable if you're able to look past its flaws, of which there are many. It's just a very good car to own and run. Can't say fairer than that.

I ran a Prius for 8 years and it was brilliant in terms of running costs and was a really relaxing drive that just wafted along. Sure, the interior trim was a bit plastic but the equipment level was good on the T-Spirit that I had, and it was expensive to buy for what it was back in 2004. But having said all that it enjoyed it would happily buy another or recommend one to friends or family.

Rich boy spanners 27 March 2015

I buy Toyota with my own

I buy Toyota with my own money, and get European (VAG) as company cars which I don't have to pay to repair.
I find Toyota boring, but have had one for 7.5 years with only a broken sun visor, the VAG stuff I do like but they have one problem after another.
Boring is well boring, but money talks and I'd rather spend it on other things than having cars repaired. If they went back to interesting stuff (the Supra/Celica etc seems so long ago) they'd sell so many more cars.
RobotBoogie 26 March 2015

Funny how...

...people are queuing up on this forum to tell the long-time world's biggest car company exactly where they are going wrong : )
jmd67 26 March 2015

RobotBoogie wrote:...people

RobotBoogie wrote:

...people are queuing up on this forum to tell the long-time world's biggest car company exactly where they are going wrong : )

They may well be the biggest at the moment but would you buy one of their cars? Tell me one model that leads it's market segment or that even looks like a style leader. Go on then...

EndlessWaves 26 March 2015

jmd67 wrote:They may well be

jmd67 wrote:

They may well be the biggest at the moment but would you buy one of their cars? Tell me one model that leads it's market segment or that even looks like a style leader. Go on then...

Well the world's best selling Hybrid would be the obvious example from a UK perspective but if you asked an Australian to point out a typical van or an American to point out a typical saloon then chances are they'd both be a Toyota. The HiAce, Corolla and Camry are big news.

Granted, for UK tastes their line up isn't particularly attractive. Not helped by the brand choosing not to import some of their more interesting vehicles. I'm guessing the Alphard wouldn't sell too well but I do wonder why we never got the FJ cruiser and the iQ EV should have been a shoo in given we already had it.

And on that subject Toyota's marketing department may be partly at fault. When they do introduce something unique with potential UK appeal like the iQ they never really seem to push it.

ordinary bloke 26 March 2015

jmd67 wrote

"Tell me one model that leads it's market segment or that even looks like a style leader. Go on then..." OK then - the GT86 which looks great and apparently goes well also.