Over the last several decades, Japan’s biggest automaker has developed a reputation for offering vehicles that were perceived as high on quality but decidedly lacking in style and pizazz.

If current CEO, Akio Toyoda has anything to do with it ,such perceptions of Toyota’s product line will soon be a relic of the past. Recently, the automaker unveiled its new product development strategy, dubbed Toyota New Global Architecture.

The idea with TNGA is to boost commonality within different vehicle product lines as well as cut down the number of decision-making process when it comes to product development and granting engineers and designers greater autonomy.

In theory, the end result will be more stylish, dynamic, feature rich vehicles that take less time to bring to market. The move is designed to counter rival automakers such as Hyundai and Kia, which have been gaining market share thanks to aggressively pushing cars and SUVs that are high on style and feature content at value oriented prices.

Toyota says that it’s initial strategy regarding TNGA, is developing three front-wheel drive vehicle architectures that will cover approximately 50 percent of all cars it produces. As to what we can expect, the company says the NS4 Hybrid Concept, previewed at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit back in January, provides a good indication of Toyota’s new direction.

And we can’t help but wonder that with a growing number of hybrid vehicles joining the Toyota/Lexus lineup, there’s a good chance that via TNGA, we’ll see yet more gas/electric and plug-In models emerge during this decade and beyond.

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