Right from the time Toyota started exporting its vehicles over 55 years ago, it has strived to ensure that wherever the customer is, the products will be properly tuned and engineered to suit local conditions which are obviously varied throughout the world. Apart from climatic conditions, fuel quality and road conditions, the behaviour of drivers and the way they use their vehicles are also considered.
One example is the Alphard and Vellfire for the Malaysian market. The units imported and distributed by UMW Toyota Motor have an adjustment made to the ECU programming specifically for the Malaysian market (which is not available in units imported by other parties). This adjustment helps the engine to stay cooler during high-speed driving and was made after the chief engineer observed that Malaysian drivers not only drive well above the maximum speed limit of 110 km/h but also maintain high speeds for long periods.
It is attention to such detail that has earned Toyota its reputation of durability and reliability, gaining the trust of car-buyers all over the world. And the attention is not just for the high-volume models but for every model in its range and this include the all-new Supra. One area where Toyota’s engineers do their real-world testing is Australia as it offers a variety of road and climatic conditions in one country. This enables the engineers to confirm suspension tuning and driving dynamics for a variety of different markets.
This was revealed by Chief engineer Tetsuya Tada who said a team of engineers from Japan have put a Supra prototype through its paces on Australian roads, supported by Toyota Australia’s highly regarded vehicle engineering and development (VED) group. The 5-day evaluation and suitability test involved areas where Supra customers are likely to travel, including sweeping country roads, twisty mountain climbs and the Great Ocean Road – considered one of the world’s great drives.
He said Australia offers surfaces that replicate 80% of the world’s roads, including some of the toughest that would be experienced by customers anywhere. “I wanted to involve Australia right towards the end of our development program,” said Mr. Tada, who was also the chief engineer for the 86 sportscar.
“It’s vital the driver feels confident during rough-road cornering and that the car is very stable under braking. Speedo accuracy is also very important. Working on aspects of handling and other details in Australia allows us to make refinements that will result in a better car right up until production starts in the first part of next year,” he explained.
Mr. Tada said the Australian VED group is regarded among the best in the world for suspension tuning and dynamic evaluation. They are experienced in conducting tests on overall performance and driveability, ride, handling, stability, brakes, seat comfort and insulation from noise, vibration and harshness on coarse-chip bitumen and gravel.
The fifth-generation Supra, also known as the A90, will embrace the car’s impressive sportscar heritage and have front-engine/rear-wheel-drive architecture with a turbocharged in-line 6-cylinder 3-litre engine. Engine outputs will be more than 300 ps/450 Nm with a projected 0 – 100 km/h time of well under 5 seconds.
Production will commence during the first half of 2019 at the factory of Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria. According to Mr. Tada, the time from the start of the Supra project to production would be about 7 years, longer than usual for new model development.