The past year has seen significant changes in Toyota that are reinvigorating the brand and helping it deliver on its promise to build “ever better cars”.
Toyota New Global Architecture
When it comes to making cars that are more fun and engaging to drive, the Toyota New Global Architecture plays a vital role. The benefits of this new, standardised approach to vehicle design and engineering were first demonstrated in the new Prius. As the New Year begins, they will be further witnessed in the ride and handling of the new Toyota C-HR crossover – qualities that have already earned wide critical acclaim from the motoring press.
In the coming year the impact of TNGA will extend to Toyota’s powertrains, with the arrival of the first engines – including a hybrid – and transmissions to be developed according to TNGA principles. The focus will not just be on better fuel economy and low emissions, but also smooth, responsive and “as desired” driving quality that strengthens the connection between driver and car.
At the same time as Toyota C-HR reaches the road, Toyota’s GT86 will be revealed in its 2017 guise, having undergone the most significant changes since its launch. Care has been taken not to dilute the purity of the driving experience that has earned the rear-wheel drive coupe wide acclaim. Instead the enhancements are designed to make it easier to enjoy the car’s performance to the full, including a new Track driving mode. Styling changes refine GT86’s classic lines, while subtly conveying an even more powerful look.
Early in the New Year Toyota will return to World Rally Championship action with two Toyota Yaris WRC cars set to tackle the season-opening Rallye Monte Carlo (16 – 22 January). During 2017 Toyota also proposes to introduce a new Yaris hot hatch, taking its cues from Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC’s competition car.
It will also be a year in which Toyota will want to lay the ghost of its Le Mans heartbreak, having seen prospective victory snatched from its grasp in the closing moments of last year’s race. Toyota Gazoo Racing will be back for the 24-hour classic as part of full World Endurance Championship season. The nine-race programme will get under way on 16 April with the 6 Hours of Silverstone.
Research and Development
Toyota continues to invest in R&D in how it can provide mobility for all – “creating better ways to move” – not just by making vehicles but also developing robotics and other new technologies to help people enjoy independence and freedom of movement in the home as well as on the road.
Since its establishment in 2015, the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has expanded its operations, and now has research laboratories in three centres in the USA, linked to major academic centres. The focus of its work covers four areas: making vehicles safer; increasing access to cars for those who otherwise cannot drive; to translate Toyota’s expertise in creating products for outdoor mobility into products for indoor mobility; and to accelerate scientific discovery by applying techniques from artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The use of artificial intelligence and Toyota’s progress in understanding the future relationship between car and driver will be explored in a new concept car from its Calty design studio in California, due to be unveiled at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on 4 January.