The Toyota Corolla is Toyota’s most successful models. The Corolla is sold in more than 154 countries, and Toyota claims that one new Corolla is delivered every 10 seconds.
Many people fail to realize that this highly popular model has different architectures in different markets. The Scion M in the US market and the Corolla hatchback sold in Europe differ in design from the Corolla that is sold in China and the US market. The Corolla sedan and wagon in the Japanese market are made using a different design platform. Till the 11th generation, the Corolla sold across the globe was basically the same, but for the 12th variant, with the 11th generation in 2012, Toyota was engaged in a drive to localize products and came up with different variants of the same model for different markets and there were three different Corollas, based on regulation needs and customer needs.
Toyota is now preparing to rectify this by rolling out a unified global platform for the 12th generation of its best selling model, the TNGA platform, with the G standing for global. The new Corolla hatchback, sedan and wagon will all be based on the same completely re-engineered global platform. The TNGA-C platform was also used for the Prius hybrid and the C-HR sub-compact crossover, making the Corolla the third model to use the platform.
Corolla Chief Engineer Yoshiki Konishi said that the concept is now ‘Global One Corolla’. All the different variants of the Corolla have been migrated to the Toyota New Global Architecture platform as part of Toyota’s drive to build brand value and marketing power. From the manufacturing perspective, Toyota would be able to simplify product engineering and achieve better economies of scale.
The use of the new global platform for manufacturing Corolla can also prove to be quite a challenge with Toyota needing to quickly convert all of its 16 plants which manufacture Corollas across the globe to the TNGA production setup. Konshi said that Toyota will have to revamp the production lines at these plants within a period of two years. This would be the first time that Toyota has upgraded a model in such a quick and expansive fashion.
As part of this transition, Toyota had announced that it would be spending USD 170 million on modernizing its assembly plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi, thus creating 400 jobs in one year. The total expense for modernizing all the 16 plants could easily exceed USD $1 billion.
“Previously, people expected different cars in different regions,” Konishi said. “But recently, regional demand and needs have been converging and getting closer.”
Toyota expects that moving to the TNGA platform would significantly reduce costs, while leveraging better specifications and clever engineering for better performance.
The new version would cost less than the outgoing Corolla sold in Europe, would cost about the same as the old U.S. and China version, but would at least initially cost more than the Japanese version.
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