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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Toyota TRD Aurion In Depth (AU)


In order to successfully produce a small-volume, sophisticated car like TRD Aurion, TRD has implemented innovative production techniques to deliver the highest standard of build quality. TRD's Production Manager, Robert Nunan, said TRD Aurion had been produced using a unique 'cell' system that sees the car's final production broken down into four key areas. Each of the four production 'cells' is manned by highly experienced operators, each with a list of production tasks for which they are ultimately responsible.

The vehicle remains static within each cell, which allows the operators the time required to fit the specified parts, while maintaining Toyota's industry-leading quality, durability and reliability (QDR) standards. Broken down into two sections - mechanical and body - the car enters the first cell where standard parts are removed and the first of the TRD Aurion-specific parts are fitted. Cars are then moved to the next cell where front and rear struts and brakes are fitted, as well as TRD Aurion's 19-inch wheels. The next cell sees the fitting of the Eaton-sourced Twin Vortices System (TVS) supercharger, before TRD Aurion enters the final cell where front and rear bumpers are fitted, along with the deck-lid spoiler, TRD badges and mufflers.

After these four static steps, each TRD Aurion then undergoes a series of dynamic tests. "The TRD cell operators are responsible for a much larger section of the vehicle than the operators that work on the standard production line," Mr Nunan said. "There is a lot more operator input, which saves time and ensures our quality objectives are met. The operators really are an integral part of the whole process; they take an interest in it and have direct input in the processes."

TRD has worked closely with production partner Prodrive, a company internationally renowned for its expertise in niche automotive projects. Mr Nunan praised Prodrive's involvement, stating that, while Toyota's production experience is internationally recognised, bringing a specialist partner onboard only further enhanced the quality of TRD's cars. "The beauty of Prodrive was its capabilities and experience in niche projects," he said. "They are specialists in building a handful of cars a day rather than hundreds."


Although the TRD Aurion is a niche vehicle for Toyota Australia, TRD has introduced quality assurance checks to exceed Toyota's already high levels of Quality, Durability and Reliability. TRD Production Manager Robert Nunan said the minimum quality target for the TRD Aurion is to match the quality level of standard Aurion, but added the aim of the TRD project was to better it. TRD Aurion has undergone rigorous testing prior to launch, most notably in the heat of central Australia, throughout the Victorian Alps and on various race tracks. The demanding testing schedule undertaken by the TRD engineers has ensured the car is well-suited to Australia's diverse driving conditions. Final production quality checks for TRD Aurion are broken into static and dynamic quality checks.

During the production phase, 'cell' operators are responsible for the finish quality of every part fitted in their cell and must sign-off on all processes before the car moves to the next cell. After a car has passed through the four production cells it is dynamically tested, a process that includes a drive that takes in NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) testing, including suspension and steering checks.

"Basically we test the vehicle's key dynamics," said Mr Nunan. "After the dynamic testing, the wheels are aligned and the car is Data Dotted and ready for delivery to the showroom."

Mr Nunan said using cell production gives TRD greater control over quality because the operators building the vehicle become very knowledgeable about their particular sections. He said the operators were thoroughly trained in the Toyota Production System with assistance from the Quality Control department at the Altona manufacturing plant.

"TRD had also implemented a number of systems the Altona plant uses for areas including problem detection, analysis and countermeasure," Mr Nunan said. "The TRD Aurion production team also has a meeting at the end of each day where we discuss processes and any issues that might arise so we can implement measures to improve production."

Mr Nunan said the TRD Aurion production process had provided invaluable experience towards the production of future TRD models.


Every TRD Aurion will be individually numbered, with the build number recorded on a plaque near the HVAC controls. The build number will be repeated on a second plaque inside the engine bay. The contemporary brushed metal number plaque on the HVAC panel is part of an exclusive branding package for TRD Aurion. Both identification plaques have red TRD branding and read 'TRD Aurion Series One', followed by a four-digit number. The TRD Aurion branding package also includes the 'R'-pattern mesh radiator grille, a TRD logo on the licence plate plinth, brushed metal TRD door scuff plates and TRD floor mats, and a TRD badge on the rear.

In addition, TRD Aurion has a leather embossed TRD logo on the steering wheel and the seat back, and R in the Alcantara highlights. The 3500SL model has a TRD logo on its Smart Start button and the gearshift lever. The exterior model-grade identification uses two finish treatments. The 3500S model has dark chrome pewter badges to enhance its tough exterior image, while the 3500SL has bright chrome pewter badges to confirm its prestigious exterior image.

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Related entries:

Toyota TRD Aurion and Hilux World Debuts
New Toyota Aurion: In Depth (AU)
Toyota TRD Aurion Race Ready (AU)


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