Toyota Is Killing Off Diesel-Powered Passenger Cars In Europe

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bloomberg via Getty Images

This isn't so much a bold move as it is a pragmatic one: if hybrids are on the rise (sales jumped 38 percent year-on-year) while diesel is nearly a rounding error, why keep diesel around?

The 2018 Geneva Motor Show marks the world debut of Toyota's third-generation Auris compact auto.

Toyota promises "a more dynamic driving experience", though we will take those claims with a grain of salt as the manufacturer made similar statements about the current Prius, which isn't exactly a five-seat go-kart.

Past year almost 15 percent of Toyota's sales in Europe were from diesel vehicles, down from 30 percent in 2012.

Product plans beyond 2018 are unconfirmed, a spokesperson said, but the plans will involve phasing out the Avensis, Verso and diesel RAV4 - in the case of the latter, HEV sales outsell the petrol/diesel models two to one.

The Auris itself has jumped onboard the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform and will have just one conventional engine - a 1.2-liter turbo gasoline. Meanwhile sales of Toyota's hybrid models have risen sharply. "In contrast, Toyota's diesel mix on passenger cars was less than 10% in 2017".

Toyota's decision to start phasing out diesel engines from its passenger vehicles will not come as a surprise to auto buyers and sellers in the United Kingdom; demand for new diesels fell by 17 per cent in 2017, with 220,000 fewer diesel cars being registered compared to 2016.

Toyota will continue to offer diesel engines in commercial vehicles (including Hilux, Proace and Land Cruiser) to meet customer needs.

Effectively, from now on, all core Toyota models - the Auris for example eschews a diesel powertrain altogether - will be presented to customers with two hybrid powertrain options.

As part of their electrified vehicle strategy, Toyota are progressively expanding their HEV offering with a second, more powerful 2.0 lite engine.

The Japanese auto manufacturer - which has two plants in the United Kingdom - will focus on petrol and hybrid for future models, but continue to offer diesel in its commercial vehicles, like the Hilux pick-up and Proace panel van. "Starting with the new generation Auris, this expanded HEV line-up is a natural reaction to our passenger vehicle customers' demands".

Johan van Zyl, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, said: "Toyota's HEV mix in passenger cars reached equality with the diesel mix in 2015".

"The announcement is reflective of our "Built for a Better World" brand goal, and is another proof point of how serious we are to deliver alternative, cleaner mobility solutions".

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, said: "I welcome Toyota's leadership on this".

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