Toyota announced today that the first product based on a new platform strategy will launch later this year.
The yet-unnamed mid-size front-wheel drive vehicle will be the first to use the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), a new, modular approach to vehicle platforms akin to Volkswagen Group’s modular platform strategy that the company says will help it cut the resources it needs by “20 percent or more.” Following the first vehicle, the company will roll out specific new platforms for both front-wheel drive compact and large vehicles as well as rear-wheel drive products.
This year Toyota anticipates that it will be able to reduce the capital investment required to introduce a new vehicle to its production lines by 50 percent compared to what it would have cost in 2008 when the auto industry went into decline.
By 2020, approximately half of Toyota’s global product portfolio is scheduled to shift onto the new platforms.
The company also reiterated its commitment to hybrid powertrains today, saying it anticipates a 15 percent improvement in its hybrid systems by re-thinking its drive unit layout and shrinking their components.
Along with new hybrid parts, the company says it plants to work in concert with suppliers to create powertrain components with its new modular vehicle platforms in mind that will reduce vehicle weight and offer a lower center of gravity.
As the world’s largest automaker, this is a critical milestone for Toyota’s continued success in the foreseeable future. Last year the company reported selling 10.23 million vehicles worldwide ahead of Volkswagen at 10.14 million units and General Motors with 9.92 million. Volkswagen is scrambling to design products that will appeal to drivers in the U.S. where it is struggling to compete while investing heavily in manufacturing operations here.
Meanwhile, Toyota has been able to reap the benefits of a weak yen combined with massive sales that will allow the company to funnel more money into developing products in its increasingly efficient strategy.
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