Toyota Motor Corporation mulls small cars new platform
By: MIKE OCHONMA
Toyota’s TNGA global architecture has become the basis of most medium-sized Toyotas launched in recent years, with the likes of Corolla and CH-R shifting onto a platform variant called ‘GA-C’ and larger vehicles such as the Camry and Rav4 moving over to the ‘GA-K’ platform.
Now familiarised with Toyota’s latest platform jargon, it’s time to introduce the new smaller variant of the TNGA architecture, which will be called ‘GA-B’. Toyota says this platform will underpin its next generation of small cars, and although it has not mentioned any specific model names, the Yaris is the most obvious model that comes to mind.
Like many of the best modern platforms, GA-B is modular and was designed to emphasise space efficiency and torsional rigidity, while also aiming for a lower centre of gravity.
The platform can accommodate a variety of wheelbase lengths, vehicle heights and track widths, while also giving designers more freedom than was the case with traditional platforms, as Toyota explains. It also uses various smart packaging techniques to maximise interior space for occupants.
“The TNGA philosophy positions non-visible components to simplify vehicle design in key areas. As a result, vehicle designers will have the freedom to give each new GA-B model a visually distinctive and individual look with a low stance and appealing proportions.” Company sources said.
Engineers also placed an emphasis on creating a “confident” and “natural” driving sensation, through a number of design methods, including the placement of the driver’s seat as low, and as far back towards the centre of the car as possible. This also allows for the steering wheel to be positioned closer to the driver at an optimised angle.
Furthermore, advanced joining technologies aim to create high levels of underbody rigidity, while also keeping weight and cost in check.
In addition, the platform allows for a variety of suspension types to be used, and can accommodate both torsion beam and multi-link rear axles.
Currently the European and Asian Yaris models have different platforms. The logical assumption is that both of their replacements will be underpinned by GA-B, but it remains to be seen just how closely related they will actually be.
There is also a fairly good chance that a GA-B model will be built in South Africa at some point in the future which it is hoped will be exported to African markets, given that TSAM has spoken about producing a model that’s more affordable than the Corolla.
In 2017 TSAM CEO Andrew Kirby said that, the company was exploring the possibility of producing a more affordable model in South Africa. At the time he stated that the company was investigating a variety of options, although the sluggish economy was making it difficult to justify such investments.
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