By the end of this year, Toyota will no longer be selling any diesel passenger cars in Europe.
We’ve known for some time that the end is nigh for diesel cars in Europe. Sales have been rapidly declining since VW’s infamous dieselgate scandal, causing some manufacturers to scrap diesel cars from their range altogether. Automotive News Europe reports Toyota is the latest automaker to give its diesel cars the chop. By the end of this year, Toyota will no longer be selling any diesel-powered passenger cars in Europe. Considering Toyota is one of the largest carmakers in the world, this is significant.
Toyota Europe CEO Johan van Zyl told Automotive News diesel vehicles account for less than 10 percent of the automaker’s car sales in Europe. Diesel versions of the large Land Cruiser SUV, Hilux pickup truck and Proace light commercial vehicles will still be available, however, as some customers prefer the higher torque offered by diesels. The first car to be affected by the decision will be the new-generation Auris, which will only be offered with gasoline and hybrid powertrains. Another factor leading to the death of Toyota diesel cars was "strong customer demand" for hybrid cars. In Europe, around 41 percent of cars sold were hybrid models.
It’s a logical business decision, then, when diesel models are clearly rapidly declining while demand for hybrids is increasing. After all, why continue to make cars nobody wants to drive? It’s not a decision that companies take lightly, though. Tough emissions regulations in Europe mean all cars must match or beat 95 grams per km by 2021, so Toyota will be expanding its hybrid range to help it comply. The more hybrids we sell, the better our chances" of reaching the target, Toyota Europe Chairman Didier Leroy said. While automakers such as Volvo will rely on 48-volt mild hybrids in the future, Toyota believes mild hybrids are inferior to the full hybrids it offers.
For us, mild hybrids wouldn't be a step forward," Leroy said. He was just as skeptical about plug-in hybrids, too, because the requirement to recharge them is a disadvantage, and their environmental benefit is made redundant when they are not recharged.