Filed under: Concept Cars , Lexus , Scion , Toyota , Design/Style “In the future, out of 100 customers, we want to excite ten of them instead of not offending all 100.” Almost all of the details about the Toyota New Group Architecture (TNGA) strategy have come out since the initiative was first reported on in March of this year, but Autoblog did learn a few new things about it on a recent trip to Japan. Probably the second-most important detail is that each new segment platform will be based around a common hip point to create an “optimal driving position architecture.” Previously, each car was conceived on its own, so Toyota couldn’t extract savings from cars that were close in size. The Etios , sold in Latin America and India, is not much smaller than the Corolla , but the two compacts had two different lead engineers, so they have different hip points and require different manufacturing processes and different kinds of commodity parts like seat belt equipment. A common hip point and driving position, as well as other moves like the an R&D reorganization and the switch to parts engineered for global approval and pooled buying, will allow Toyota to harmonize parts like airbags, pedal boxes and seat belts to save money. The company expects to save 15 to 20 percent on manufacturing using TNGA, and 20 to 30 percent overall once development is included. Toyota also says it will use the efficiencies gained and money saved to make those commodity parts better, and they will have longer life cycles; while the lifespan of a Corolla won’t change, a pedal box might carry over from one generation into a brand new generation. Three new front-wheel-drive cars are expected to ride on the platform in 2015, the Prius being one of them, and its advance estimate of 55 miles per gallon is said to be aided by the TNGA. Another important objective of the streamlined development programs and common parts is allowing the designers to actually, you know, design a car instead of wrapping a platform in meek metal. Said company CEO Akio Toyoda earlier this year, “Instead of developing what customers would want next, we were making cars that would rake in sales” – cars that were just as popular as they were boring. That brings us to what we think might be the most important advance provided by the TNGA, revealed in a presentation by company design chief Tokuo Fukuichi: “Before, we made cars so as not to be disliked by anyone.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Detroit Auto Show , Hybrid , Sedan , Toyota , Electric Toyota can justifiably be proud of its position not only as one of the largest automakers in the world, but also the world leader in hybrid vehicles. In fact, the Japanese automaker claims that half of all hybrids sold are Toyotas. But it didn’t get there by resting on its proverbial laurels, and it isn’t going to maintain (let alone increase) its market share by doing so, either. That’s where the concept car you see here comes in. Taking position as something of a Prius of the future, the NS4 concept cuts a striking profile – certainly more striking than the current kamm-tailed Prius. But even though the technologies it encompasses are targeted to reach the market by around 2015, the show-car details – like that eminently dentable front beak -probably won’t. While Toyota works on all manner of electric and fuel cell powertrains, the NS4 packs a similar plug-in hybrid system as the current Prius PHEV. But the show car encompasses a slew of other technologies, like a smartphone-like interface to monitor and control everything from the air conditioning to the battery charge. Toyota has also packed the NS4 with its latest pre-collision and blind-spot monitoring systems, adaptive headlights and four new types of glass – the one part of the car we probably take most for granted. Of course, this being a concept car, Toyota has also replaced the side mirrors with an around-view camera system, but laws being what they are for now, don’t expect to see that in showrooms just yet.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Detroit Auto Show , Hybrid , Toyota , Electric Toyota is bringing a new concept to the 2012 Detroit Auto Show . The company calls its NS4 showcar an “advanced” plug-in hybrid , though it hasn’t shared any more information beyond the vehicle’s name. While we can’t say for certain, odds are the concept will give us a glimpse of what the company has planned for future hybrid design instead of boasting any tangible next-generation technology. As you may recall, Toyota and BMW recently partnered up to create a new lithium-ion battery pack, so it may be some time before we see the tech debut, even in a concept vehicle. Toyota has also made it clear the company will bring along the Prius C , which will make its North American debut at the Detroit show (see gallery below). The Prius C rides on a platform about the same size as the Yaris , but comes packing a hybrid drivetrain. Word has it the vehicle will come with Prius-besting EPA fuel economy figures, too. Hit the jump for the brief press release, and stay tuned for more information as we get closer to the Detroit show. Continue reading Toyota confirms NS4 plug-in hybrid concept and production Prius C for Detroit Toyota confirms NS4 plug-in hybrid concept and production Prius C for Detroit originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 20 Dec 2011 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .