In preparation for the 2018 Camry, Toyota's plant in Georgetown, Kentucky was the beneficiary of a $1.3 billion investment made by the Japanese automaker. Much of that cash was spent upgrading and streamlining the factory for the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform on which the next-generation Camry—and many more Toyota models, eventually—will sit.
In a report by Automotive News, TNGA will not only make for lower, stronger, more fuel efficient, and less boring to drive Toyotas, but is set to change up how the company builds cars in a big way. According to Toyota vehicle quality and production engineering project manager Tom Burrows, "TNGA is really about an overhaul mindset for the company. It's an opportunity for the designers, stylists and our production engineering and manufacturing to think about—and create—what is the best vehicle possible, the best plant possible."
At the Camry-Avalon-Lexus ES plant in Georgetown for example, four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and hybrid engines are now able to be built on the same line. Radiators are now assembled as part of the engine "module" as opposed to the reportedly awkward, after-the-fact install it used to be. The entire engine line is more compact and closer to the main assembly line.
The ushering in of all the renovations to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) doesn't mean normal operations have been hampered, mind you. "We don't stop making the current model while we're preparing for the new. So we've had thousands and thousands of hours of people working over the weekend and working over the holidays to introduce the new technology," says TMMK president Wil James.
When next year's Avalon adopts TNGA, plant operations will be able to be streamlined even further, creating room on the floor for TMMK to potentially accommodate a fourth model. Efficiency, ladies and gents.