In a massive move to reduce the cost and complexity of developing new products, Toyota says up to half its new vehicles will be built on a new, common architecture by 2020.
Called TNGA, for Toyota New Global Architecture, it is said to be lighter and more compact and compatible with both front- and rear-wheel drive layouts. Naturally, being a Toyota, it will also accommodate hybrid drivetrains.
The next-generation Prius, expected in 2015, will be one of the first vehicles to employ the new architecture.
Toyota says the TNGA project will also encompass a range of new engines that are more thermally efficient, enabling as much as a 15% power increase and 25% improvement in fuel efficiency. New automatic and CVT transmissions are also part of the program.
The combination of new engines and structure is also said to result in the lowest centre-of-gravity (CG) among its mainstream competitors, thus enhancing handling. (The 'mainstream' adjective presumably exempts Subarus from the comparison).
While use of a common core architecture is expected to reduce the number of vehicles platforms and corresponding costs dramatically, little of that commonality will be visible to customers, allowing for ready differentiation among models.
According to one source, the only visibly common components across various model lines using the architecture will be the steering wheel, touchscreen, transmission selector, pedals, door mirrors and Toyota badges.
The first TNGA-based vehicle is expected to begin production later this year.