Could this be Toyota's next sports car?

Derryn Wong



This is actually a photo of the new Toyota Prius. No, we haven’t lost our minds, but hear us out.

We’ve recently test driven the new Toyota Prius in Japan, and it’s a ground-breaking car not in the least because it’ll better 30km/L, but also because it’s the first car to debut Toyota’s new way of making cars. Dubbed TNGA, or Toyota New Generation Architecture, this tech will underpin the next generation of Toyota cars everywhere in the world including, we heard, a new turbocharged Corolla that will be a global model. It will likely provide the basis for Toyota’s new S-FR sports car – should the company decide to make it, that is.

What is TNGA?
The acronym stands for Toyota New Global Architecture. It’s basically Toyota’s take on a scalable, common architecture for its cars. Although the way Toyota’s representatives talk about it, it’s both a technology and an approach. Toyoshima-san says, “This philosophy of TNGA is an overarching concept of coming up with ever better cars. We tried to figure out what we need to do to make ever better cars. TNGA is the solution and the base of production.”

What’s meant by ‘architecture’?
The basic, fundamental bits of an automobile, namely the drivetrain and chassis. It’s no coincidence that these two things are the most expensive to develop. For example, Volvo’s new XC90 debuted the brand’s own Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), and that in itself cost $14.1-billion to develop. The concept of a single unified platform for many different models was pioneered by Volkswagen, with its MQB and MLB tech,specifically its ex-head of R&D Dr Ulrich Hackenburg, who’s since left his post as a result of the diesel scandal.

For the Prius, it means a monocoque body and frame that uses more high-strength steel and bonding techniques (laser screw welding, as found on the Lexus IS and RC). The component layouts will also be standardised to one of five different templates (position of the pedals and steering and seat), there’s also a focus on lowering the overall centre of gravity of cars.

Why is it so important?
According to Toyota’s press release, it’s the ‘foundation for all Toyota’s future powertrain and vehicle development.’

Scalable architecture helps resolve one of the biggest conflicts inside automaking: Between engineers/designers and accountants. It helps reduce costs and generate economies of scale, and basically makes it possible to create a whole range of vehicles that weren’t financially possible before.

Toyota also says TNGA incorporates improvements into Toyota’s ‘just in time’ production system, and also makes the production of cars itself more modular.

For example, Toyota currently has more than 100 different platforms and 400 engine types for its products around the globe. For the same reason that a Southeast Asian Camry isn’t like an American one, the ‘old style’ of vehicle development was to tailor products to each market. That helped Toyota become the world’s biggest automaker, but it no longer wants to do that – it’s putting its focus on product above all, and expecting sales will naturally follow. As Akio Toyoda says, the company now aims to make ‘ever better cars’, and the implication is that it is no longer chasing numbers.

Does this mean the ‘one sausage many sizes’ German approach?
That’s more of a branding thing than an architectural one. Toyota says the TNGA bits are largely out of sight,  and will allow ‘designers to retain the freedom to produce cars that are visually stylish and distinctive and individual’. Examples include the new Prius and the CH-R concept crossover.

So what does this mean for us car buyers?
While cars are emotionally-charged things, automaking is still a business first and foremost. The payoff is that as development costs go down, the number of vehicles possible can go up. A key example? The Lexus LFA was made to prove a point (technical prowess, a halo car etcetera) but didn’t actually make the company money. With TNGA, cars like the S-FR or the next Supra actually have a shot at being produced with less cost. 

Kouji Toyoshima, chief engineer of the new Prius, says, “All of us have determined that TNGA will be the basis of making and designing Toyota vehicles. It’s not just a bit product efficiency but to deliver cars that customers really want, we want to see the smiling faces of our customers. In developing Prius we were able to introduce concept (of being fun to drive) from beginning to end from beginning to end for the first time.”


2015 architecture asia body chassis Corolla frame global Japan new next platform prius Singapore TNGA Toyota

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CarBuyer – Revolutionizing The Online Car Marketplace In Singapore

Buy Used And New Cars Online
Start your car buying journey with CarBuyer as we connect you seamlessly to the industry’s best CaseTrust-SVTA accredited car dealerships. As a one stop car online portal you can now buy your new ride, be it a pre-owned car or a brand new car from trusted dealers all over Singapore, all in one place. Our ever expanding listing of quality and covet-worthy cars, new and second hand, from both owners and trusted car dealers, will leave you spoilt for choice. Refine your search by vehicle type, registration year, price, mileage, engine type, transmission, annual depreciation value and more to find the car that best suits your needs, taste and lifestyle. You can even search for your car by dealer or directly by owner.

Sell Your Car In An Instant With Confidence
We all know how selling a car in Singapore can be a daunting task especially for a first time car seller; from trying to get a valuation for your car, finding a trusted dealer, to getting the best quote on your vehicle. CarBuyer understands the hassle and even the costs involved and have as such partnered with Huawei to develop a FIRST in Southeast Asia AI car valuation tool that is able to provide a car’s resale value at the snap of a finger. Backed with a consortium of trusted CaseTrust-SVTA accredited car dealers you can be assured that you are getting the best price for your vehicle and do not have to worry about any hidden costs.

The Ultimate Car Shopping Experience Online
CarBuyer platform is the first of its kind to be backed by Huawei’s Artificial Intelligence and cloud computing, enabling it to be able to offer users transparency and enhanced security, all with the one aim of enhancing customer experience. So come on over to buy and sell used cars online at the best prices at CarBuyer Singapore. Connect easily with dealers in real-time via our online video call feature, or schedule a test drive when you’re ready. Have some questions? Get them answered instantly with our chatbot moderated by our responsive team. Stay in the loop with our car-related tips, reviews and news. Learn the ins-and-outs of your car, as well as global and Singapore’s car updates at your own pace.