Making certain components and parts interchangeable across an entire product line lends itself to production simplicity and efficiency that has helped many manufacturers really make their mark, especially among the auto industry. This modular design approach can also lend itself to significant cost reduction that may help you outshine competitors in a market that’s only becoming more competitive and accelerating on who can advance the fastest.


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A Major Manufacturing Revamp
That may be why Toyota has chosen to revamp their manufacturing process. Announcing the change after two years of silence, the new process has reportedly been adopted to allow for extended component sharing, utilization of smaller manufacturing lines, diversified supplier relationships, and subsequent drops in production costs.

Helping The Top Seller Stay On Top?
Toyota plans to build half of its vehicles using this shared component approach, called the Toyota New Global Architecture, by 2020. While this approach was halted in the midst of major recalls, it’s now resumed and will be used to produce the fourth generation of the Prius Hybrid among other upcoming models.

Will this this help the world’s top selling automaker stay on top of an expanding market—especially as electric vehicle makers and smaller manufacturers are starting to move in on long established territory? Perhaps time will tell.

Following Fellow High Performers
While the Toyota New Global Architecture is new for the Japanese automaker, the approach has been in use for that other major player, Volkswagon, for the past few years.  With selling power that remains at a close second to Toyota, VW has been working with a globally manufactured, block building system since 2012.

According to the German automaker’s Chef Executive Martin Winterkorn at VW’s annual news Conference, “Now we can manufacture different brands and models with great flexibility on one production line.”


Should U.S. Carmakers Do The Same?
While it does take a considerable investment to make such a switch, the payoff appears to be apparent. American carmakers and other manufacturers are already making pretty major changes and bold investments in new materials, more efficient engines, and other features, so should a transition into more modular production also be a priority?

Tell us what you think in the comments.

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