Toyota Introduces TNGA: New Vehicle Development Framework Initiatives

New strategy enhances product appeal and reduces cost



 This report contains the latest on the progress of TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture), a new product development strategy that was introduced by Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota). In 2013, Toyota became the world's first automaker as a group including Daihatsu Motor Company (Daihatsu) and Hino Motors (Hino) with global sales beyond 10 million units a year. Toyota has stressed in various occasions that they are not just after quantities and that their goal is to deliver ever-better cars to customers toward a sustainable growth. By introducing TNGA, Toyota aspires to accomplish both a drastic increase in its product appeal and cost reductions.

Related Reports: Toyota: FY 2014 forecasted profit is highest since Lehman Brothers crisis (posted in November 2013)

Introduction of TNGA strategy

 In 2012, Toyota announced that it was promoting initiatives under the framework of TNGA. The main objective of TNGA is the grouped development of vehicles. Unlike the company's past development approaches that were optimized for specific models, Toyota will seek simultaneous development of multiple models. This will allow for an increase in procurement of standardized parts that are shared among multiple models. In March 2013, Toyota announced the initiatives conducted under the TNGA framework which will be reflected in new vehicle launch in stages starting in 2015. The first launch is likely to include the all-new Prius and the IMV series.

 Concurrently with introduction of the TNGA , Toyota's automotive business was divided into four units as of April 1, 2013; Lexus International, Toyota No. 1 covering advanced markets, Toyota No. 2 covering emerging markets, and the Unit Center. At that time, the TNGA Planning Division and Product & Business Planning Division were established as independent divisions. Because of the broad range of production models, Toyota estimates that the TNGA will not be reflected on the entire lineup until the mid-2020s.

TNGA Initiatives (announced in March 2013)

Organization  TNGA Planning Division (for formulating technology-based medium to long-term strategies for products) and Product & Business Planning Division (for formulating market-based medium-term strategies for products and business) were formed as of April 1, 2013.
Enhancing product strength  Next-generation platforms will be developed to redesign vehicles from the frame adopting lower hood, lower center of gravity, more attractive design, better visibility and improved fundamental functionality along with a better emotional appeal. The new platforms will be adopted in vehicles in phases. Toyota will also develop new low-center-of-gravity and high-performance powertrain units, the very core of a vehicle. They will be rolled out in stages.
Grouped development  Medium to long-term product lineup will be finalized. The units, their positioning within the vehicle, and driving position will be determined as Toyota's "architecture" (design concept of car-making). Common parts and units will be adopted through simultaneous development of multiple vehicles in "grouped development" based on the pre-determined vehicle architecture. Through the introduction of TNGA, Toyota aims to increase the efficiency of vehicle development by 20 to 30%, and invest the resulting savings in making "more ever-better cars."
Manufacturing reforms  The operations of suppliers and Toyota's divisions responsible for procurement, production engineering and technologies (research and development) will be integrated to finalize parts and units that are simpler and easier to manufacture. This will lead to a simple, compact manufacturing process for making products of higher quality.
Global standardization  Parts for Toyota vehicles used to be developed according to Toyota's own specifications. From now on, Toyota will seek compatibility with global standards so that it can use standard parts that are used globally by many automakers.
TNGA-based procurement strategies  The Purchasing Group will seek even higher competitiveness by "bulk ordering" of common parts and units for multiple models across regions and time frames resulting from "grouped development."



Details of TNGA initiatives

 Details of the TNGA initiatives have been gradually unveiled as summarized below.

Developing three platforms in the initial stage

3 platforms to cover 50% of production  Toyota will initially develop three types of platforms for front-wheel drive vehicles (new MC platform for the Prius and Corolla, K platform for the Camry and RX, and B platform for the Vitz and Yaris). On these platforms, common parts and units can be easily adopted in multiple models. Toyota will develop several models based on each of those platforms. Total volume of these vehicles will account for about half of its global production volume.
Weight reduction  Vehicles built by TNGA approach will achieve up to 20% reduction in vehicle weight.
Higher safety  The 2014 Corolla and other Toyota vehicles only received "marginal" rating in the "small overlap front" safety test adopted recently by the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (The test measures the degree of safety when the frontal corner of the driver's side of the vehicle hits a tree or pole at speed of 40 mph.). In addition to improving the rate of the test, Toyota will employ drastic measures under the TNGA approach to meet standards of new and conventional safety tests.


Parts standardization and bulk ordering

Initially standardizing 20 to 30% of parts  Initially Toyota will standardize 20 to 30% of the parts used in vehicles that share the platforms. The percentage will be increased eventually to 70 to 80%. In addition, the company will draw a line between the parts that will not affect product appeal by sharing and those that are unique to specific models. Toyota will refresh its car-making approach accordingly.
 Toyota and parts suppliers will work together in developing "modules" to benefit from bulk procurement at lower costs.
Standardization of driving position and engine mounting angle  Under TNGA approach, the driver's sitting position (the height from the floor to the hip point) will be standardized separately for four vehicle types: the mini-vans, SUV, sedan/hatchback and coupe. A change in the seat height will affect the mounting position and angle of many parts including the seat, steering wheel, pedals, meters and switches. For instance, standardization will help reduce the types of airbags significantly.
 The engine mounting angle has been standardized. This leads to the standardization of the location of many parts that are mounted on the engine, such as intake and exhaust system parts, starters, alternators and pumps.
Parts suppliers accepting bulk orders  To accept bulk orders, the parts suppliers are required to establish a global supply system and reduce costs. As a result, procurement from global suppliers is said to be increased.
 The first vehicles built under the TNGA approach will be most likely to be the next-generation Prius produced mainly in Japan. Next in line will be the IMV series that will be produced in emerging countries, followed by the Camry to be produced mainly in the U.S. starting in 2017. Toyota will establish procurement system for common parts and modules first in Japan, then in emerging countries and the U.S. The company will roll them out in stages.
 The Purchasing Planning Dept. of Purchasing Group was reorganized as Purchasing Planning & TNGA Promotion Division as of January 1, 2014. TNGA has been carried out under the leadership of the engineering division. The change was made to promote TNGA aggressively in the purchasing division as well.


Powertrain standardization and enhancement

Engines  Toyota has started commonization of powertrains with the establishment of the Unit Center on April 1, 2013. The unit center is located at a 12-story Powertrain Development and Production Engineering Building which was built near Toyota's headquarters at the Honsha Plant in Toyota city. Operations of the unit center began in February 2013 with approximately 2,800 engineers.
 Prior to the completion of the new facility, the R&D and production engineering functions for engines and other major components were scattered geographically. They are now consolidated to develop new technologies and production methods, which will lead to the development of innovative powertrain units and bring them promptly to market. Many free spaces are available for the discussions among R&D researchers and production engineers.
 The cylinder dimensions will be standardized to define several basic modules for cylinders. The modules will be used in combinations to design engines of various displacements. Toyota will reportedly introduce 2500cc, 2000cc and 1500cc engines, all for front-wheel drive vehicles, from 2016 to 2017. Toyota will also standardize the VVT and direct-injection systems that were conventionally developed on the model-by-model basis. Toyota will roll them out to various other engines eyeing a 20% reduction in the engine development man-hour.
Adapting to turbo engines  Toyota exhibited the Lexus LF-NX Concept, powered by a 2000cc turbo engine, at the Tokyo Motor Show 2013. The company will launch the vehicle in global markets in 2014 as its first turbo-powered model since 1980s.
 The small engines slated for market launch in and after 2015 are being developed assuming use on both hybrid vehicles (HV) and turbo-powered vehicles. Toyota is said to abide by a policy to "use large-displacement engines on HVs and use small- and mid-size engines on HVs and turbo-powered vehicles according to the product characteristics" in the near future.
Increasing thermal efficiency of engines for HV use to 42%  The engines that are presently used in the Prius and the Crown hybrid vehicles have a thermal efficiency of 38.5%. Toyota aspires to increase the thermal efficiency of the TNGA-developed models being launched in 2015 to about 42% by increasing the combustion efficiency and reducing the frictions. At thermal efficiency above 40%, the energy of an internal combustion engine is not lost much in the form of heat but instead used to drive the vehicle. As a result, the higher engine efficiency alone will lead to nearly 10% increase in fuel efficiency.
 The engines that are used on gasoline-powered, non-hybrid vehicles have a thermal efficiency of 36 to 37%. Toyota aims to increase it to about 40%.
Aerodynamics Laboratory  Toyota completed the Aerodynamics Laboratory at about the same time as the completion of the Powertrain Development and Production Engineering Building. The new facility will help strengthen and promote the development of automotive technologies involving aerodynamics. It is equipped with a large wind tunnel fan and a system that can simulate vehicle operations in windy environments with vehicle speeds of up to 250km/h. This makes possible precise evaluation of aerodynamic characteristics under a range of conditions, from downtown to highway driving.
 The Aerodynamics Laboratory is located at Toyota's Honsha Technical Center to facilitate close collaboration with design, development, testing and other divisions. This will lead to more attractive design, quieter riding as well as enhanced steering and driving stability. Reducing air resistance is extremely important for improving fuel efficiency during high-speed driving. When driving at 100km/h, for instance, approximately 70% of resistance on the vehicle is air resistance. The Aerodynamics Laboratory has been renewed for the first time since Toyota established its first wind tunnel facility in 1969.

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