JACKSON, Tenn. -- Toyota Motor Corp. is at the threshold of a new global strategy for how it designs and manufactures vehicles and engines. In North Am-erica, it begins right here in a west Tennessee parts plant.
The Toyota New Global Architecture, which Toyota managers call TNGA, is a multiheaded plan unveiled in 2012 that is now coming to market.
Toyota believes it can cut the expense of creating products by grouping them into families with shared parts and engines. A smaller number of engines will power them, and the engines will be smaller and lighter weight, built on smaller and more flexible factory machinery in what, over time, will be physically smaller manufacturing plants.
In April, Toyota announced plans to begin overhauling North American factories to prepare for TNGA. It also announced construction of a $1 billion plant in Mexico that will be "the first in the world designed from the ground up with TNGA production engineering technologies," according to the automaker.
In Toyota's words, TNGA will enable Toyota to "produce vehicles with a lower center of gravity and lighter, more compact components, delivering to customers enhanced driving performance [and] greater fuel efficiency."
It is a massive, global rethink for Toyota. And at this moment, a great deal of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of Bob Lloyd, CEO of Bodine Aluminum, which Toyota has owned for 25 years.