TOKYO – Slowly but surely Toyota is moving forward with its TNGA platform strategy.
Standing for Toyota New Global Architecture, the modular unibody platform was conceived in part to lower product development costs and is expected to be incorporated into half of Toyota and Lexus cars in 2020.
Toyota’s best-selling U.S. models now use TNGA, including the RAV4 midsize CUV. The RAV4, largely due to the new-generation model, was the automaker’s No.1-seller in the U.S. in first-half 2019, with 200,610 deliveries, Wards Intelligence data shows. Toyota expects to sell more than 400,000 RAV4s in the U.S. in 2019.
The compact Corolla and midsize Camry cars also ride on TNGA platforms and were Toyota’s No.2 and No.3 best-selling U.S. models in the first half of this year, with 176,008 and 152,866 respective sales.
By 2023, TNGA is estimated to underpin 80%, or an estimated 70 out of 90, models currently in the automaker’s global lineup.
The automaker has three variants of TNGA platforms in market.
The first Toyota car to incorporate TNGA was the Prius when it went through a model change in 2015.
The new Prius platform, designated GA-C, has since been adopted for the Prius Prime (the plug-in hybrid variant of the Prius), C-HR (sold in China as the Izoa) small CUV, Corolla and the Corolla derivatives Auris and Levin (the latter sold in China), as well as the Lexus UX small CUV.
For slightly larger cars, Toyota has developed the GA-K platform, used for the Camry midsize and Avalon large sedans, RAV4 and Highlander midsize CUVs and the Lexus ES luxury car.
And for rear-drive luxury cars, the automaker’s GA-L platform underpins the LS and LC, both Lexus models, and the Toyota Crown.
A new subcompact platform, TNGA-B, underpins the next-generation Yaris.
Toyota’s small-car subsidiary, Daihatsu, has developed a separate DNGA platform for its 660cc minicar lineup.
On the powertrain side, the automaker has introduced five TNGA engines and five TNGA transmissions including two hybrid powertrains and one hybrid transmission.
There are three ‘Dynamic Force’ gasoline engines – 2.0L and 2.5L 4-cyl. units and a 3.5L twin-turbocharged V-6. Each 4-cyl. engine also is available as hybrid variants.
TNGA transmissions include two direct-shift automatics, an 8-speed and a 10-speed, a 6-speed manual, a direct-shift CVT and a transaxle-plus-motor hybrid.
In total, Toyota has introduced 17 standard and 10 hybrid engine variants incorporating TNGA technology along with10 transmission variants. There also are eight all-wheel-drive variants currently in market.
Also, as announced last month, a five-module e-TNGA platform, supporting front-, rear- and AWD applications, will underpin the 10 BEVs (six global) Toyota has coming. The battery-pack and seat positioning for e-TNGA is fixed, but the wheelbase will be flexible. The first e-TNGA model is expected to debut next year in China.
Toyota currently produces no BEVs and has only one plug-in hybrid, the Prius Prime.
To this end, the automaker recently entered into a partnership with BYD, a leading Chinese manufacturer of BEVs and lithium-ion batteries, to jointly develop an unspecified number of BEVs to be sold in China under the Toyota brand.
Toyota also will source batteries for those models from the Shenzhen-based manufacturer.
Earlier this month, Toyota entered into a partnership with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) to supply it with unspecified volumes of Li-ions.
CATL, based in Ningde, southeastern China, is the world’s largest manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and buses.
Toyota will continue to team with Panasonic, Japan’s largest manufacturer of Li-ions. Panasonic currently supplies the Prius Prime but in the automotive world is best known as the main battery-cell supplier for Tesla.
Toyota also will continue to depend heavily on Primearth EV Energy Co., a Toyota subsidiary, for nickel-metal hydride hybrid batteries.