In a continued effort to streamline its manufacturing process, Toyota is working on expanding the common components used across its model lineup.
Since taking over in 2009, President Akio Toyoda has been stressing the Japanese automaker’s desire to narrow down the number of parts it uses to build its vehicles, increasing the number of parts shared across its models. The ultimate plan is to cut down on both the time and cost needed to create new models by as much as 30 percent.
In the past, Toyota spent a lot of its resources developing custom parts for its vehicles. For example, Toyota has 50 types of knee-level airbags for various models in its lineup. But by standardizing “hip heights” as Toyota calls it, it can now reduce its air bag variants by 80 percent. Another cut back has been in the radiator department, cutting about 100 models down to 21. Lastly, Toyota is reducing the number of cylinder sizes in its engines to six, from more than 18 by 2016.
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