Despite boisterous boasting by several German brands about modular architecture in future vehicles, Toyota remained relatively quiet on the subject.
More than a year ago, the brand announced it’s “Toyota New Global Architecture” (TNGA). Just like Mercedes, BMW and Audi, the modular system will offer a streamlined and simplified production process that will ease new product development. Toyota President Akio Toyoda said that one of the goals in using TNGA will be to exceed building 10 million vehicles annually. It isn’t clear if that figure includes Lexus and Scion or only Toyota.
“No company in this industry has ever exceeded 10 million units, but we would like to achieve that level,” Toyoda told Automotive News. “And the means that we can use” to get there, he said, “is TNGA.”
Reaching that goal would be a big deal for Toyota; a brand hampered by global recalls, natural disasters, a poor economy and the rising yen. TNGA will first be applied to three front-wheel drive vehicle platforms that will account for roughly half of Toyota’s volume.
That could prove to be a dangerous move for the brand. According to Automotive News, Toyota will also now use more components made to global standards rather than its own. While that will open the automaker to sourcing parts from major global producers to save cost, it could also have serious ramifications.
The brand expects production to be between 20 and 30 percent more efficient when those cars reach production. At that point, the cars are expected to share between 20 and 30 percent of their parts, although that commonality will balloon to between 70 and 80 percent once TNGA is in full swing.
Toyota’s reputation is built on reliability and leaning on big global parts makers could compromise that. If Toyota reaches its 10 million unit goal, that would mean roughly five million units riding on TNGA. That translates to anywhere from 3.5 to 5 million vehicles with common parts that could fall under a massive recall in one expensive mistake.
There haven’t been any officially announced nameplates associated with the new architecture, but Japanese newspaper Nikkei said the next-generation Prius will be included.
News about the future products can’t be terribly distant because Toyota said last month during a briefing that the first TNGA cars will debut in 2015.
[Source: Automotive News]
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