Toyota next OEM to abandon diesel
On the margins of the Geneva Motor Show, Toyota announced the next step of its powertrain strategy for Europe. It includes a number of petrol engines and a range of hybrid electric variants. Most strikingly, Toyota revealed plans to phase out diesel engines from all of its passenger cars in 2018.
The move doesn't come as a surprise to insiders. Diesel engines have traditionally not been very important for the Japanese carmaker, accounting for a mere 10% of total passenger car sales in Europe in 2017.
Moreover, Toyota has strong petrol alternatives in its hybrid variants across its line-up. Today, more than 40% of Toyotas sold in Europe are hybrids.
Toyota's hybrid technology should help the brand meet Europe's tougher emissions rules. By 2021, the average CO2 emissions for carmakers in Europe drops from 118.1g/km now to 95g/km. If manufacturers don't meet the target, they will face hefty fines. In 2017, Toyota was already at 101.2g/km, down from 105.4g/km the previous year.
In a reaction to Automotive News Europe, Toyota Europe Chairman Didier Leroy explained his company does not believe in 48-volt hybrids as they consider it an inferior technology. Toyota also believes plug-in hybrids aren't the way to go as they need to be recharged. If their owners fail to recharge their cars, the environmental benefit is nullified.
C-HR and Auris
In 2016, Toyota introduced the C-HR compact SUV without a diesel option. Hybrids, however, account for just under 80% of all C-HR sales.
The new Auris, set for launch next year (pictured), will also only be offered with petrol or hybrid powertrains. Customers will have a choice between a 1.2L Turbo 4-cylinder direct injection turbo-charged petrol engine (116hp), a 1.8L HEV 4th powertrain which can also be found in the Prius and the Toyota C-HR (122hp) and a brand-new 2.0L HEV powertrain (180hp).
Toyota will continue to offer diesel engines in commercial vehicles (Hilux pick-up truck, Proace van and Land Cruiser off-roader) to meet customer needs in terms of torque and payload.
Image: new Toyota Auris (source: Toyota)