Toyota aims to halve cost of retooling in sweeping efficiency drive

TOYOTA CITY, Japan, March 26 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp said on Thursday it would aim to halve the investment required to retool factories for new models compared with what it was spending before the 2008 financial crisis, as part of a sweeping overhaul of the way it develops and builds cars.

Under the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) efficiency and cost-saving initiative, driven by President Akio Toyoda, the automaker also aims to reduce the cost of developing a new car by at least a fifth.

Models featuring the new TNGA platforms will feature a lower centre of gravity, giving them better handling and improved visibility.

A simplified manufacturing process, including increased use of compact production equipment, will allow Toyota to also reduce investment for new factories by about 40 percent compared with 2008 levels, the company said.

Toyota said that retooling its existing factories would temporarily require increased investment, but future investments would be reduced substantially.

Toyota expects about half of its vehicles in 2020 to feature TNGA platforms with widely shared components under the hood, starting with the medium-sized platform that will undergird the next-generation Prius. (Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim and Kevin Krolicki; Editing by Chris Gallagher)