"Commonization is not new. But we are trying to push it to a higher level," Kato said at the briefing.
To maximize efficiencies, product developers will first group future vehicles by launch timing. They will then be engineered simultaneously to eke out commonalities. Before, planning was done model by model with little thought of the big picture.
Toyoda reorganized the company last month to speed the r&d changes. The company was split into four parts.
One deals with Lexus. Another develops Toyota-brand vehicles for mature markets such as the United States and Japan. A third develops Toyota vehicles for emerging markets.
The fourth, called the Unit Center, conducts r&d on core shared technologies, such as engines and transmissions.
"The reorganization we achieved quite recently of TNGA and of the Unit Center represents our intention to develop vehicles for the next 20 to 30 years with engines at the core," Toyoda said.
To reinforce the drive, cash-rich Toyota last month inaugurated new r&d facilities at its headquarters in Toyota City.
Chief among them is a 12-story powertrain development and production engineering building. With a total floor space of 1 million square feet, it allows stronger collaboration between powertrain, prototyping and production engineers by housing them all in one structure.
Another is a new aerodynamics laboratory and wind tunnel with a maximum air speed of 155 mph. It is the first major upgrade to Toyota's aerodynamics lab since 1969.
One improvement is the use of a moving belt under the cars in the wind tunnel. That better simulates airflow around a moving vehicle than a car sitting on a stationary platform.
The new approach puts the company on solid footing to achieve sales beyond 10 million, said Toyoda, who rarely talks numbers in public.
He didn't give a time frame for achieving that target. And he did not say whether the number was for just Toyota, Lexus and Scion or whether it included affiliated brands such as Hino trucks and Daihatsu.
No automaker has hit the 10 million milestone, but Toyota targeted that level in 2008 when then-President Katsuaki Watanabe predicted sales of 10.4 million for the following year, including sales by Hino and Daihatsu.
By August 2008, however, Watanabe had slashed that 2009 sales forecast to 9.7 million as the financial crisis loomed. In fact, Toyota's global group sales tanked 13 percent to 7.81 million in 2009.
Toyota is again within striking distance of 10 million.
Its group sales forecast for 2013, including Hino and Daihatsu, is 9.96 million vehicles. For the Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands alone, the target is 8.95 million.