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by Tim Beissmann

Toyota has launched a bold new global strategy that will see the Japanese automotive giant develop three all-new front-wheel-drive vehicle platforms and give more decision-making power to its chief engineers.

Called the ‘Toyota New Global Architecture’, the new framework will see advances in product appeal driven by engineers rather than accountants and other management members.

Toyota is focusing on “fortifying the authority of chief engineers”, giving them greater capacity to identify consumer needs and pursue product improvements to address them.

Cooperation between planning and design divisions will result in revised vehicle body structures with lower centres of gravity and bolder styling, leading to “never-before-seen emotional designs and superb handling”.

Toyota says it has also reduced the number of people who attend internal design review meetings, and is now giving chief engineers “precedence” in the review process, meaning there will be fewer people to tame original designs.

Toyota says the three new global front-wheel-drive platforms will underpin approximately half of its international sales. The platforms are expected to form the basis of the brand’s next-generation light (Yaris), small (Corolla) and medium (Camry) vehicles.

The shift to global vehicle platforms will lead to a reduction in development and production costs, with parts and core vehicle components to be shared extensively and suppliers to be involved early in the process.

Despite the push to global vehicles, Toyota says it will focus on three key regions to meet the specific needs and preferences of consumers, appointing product planning general managers to North America and China; Japan and Europe; and Australia, Russia, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and emerging Asian markets.

Toyota says the creation of three regional sectors will sharpen its responsiveness in launching new products and updates.

The fruits of the new global strategy will begin to be seen in the coming years.




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