Published: Thu, March 08, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Diesel do nicely? Not in our cars, says Toyota

Diesel do nicely? Not in our cars, says Toyota

A motor industry turning away from diesel and European drivers increasingly favouring hybrid cars: add it up and the result is clear - advantage Toyota.

The classic hybrid system comes in the form of the 1.8-liter electrified mill with 122 horsepower (91 kilowatts), Toyota claiming it to be "silent, intuitive, responsive" with "low cost of ownership, no need for plug-in recharging, offering outstanding fuel economy and low Carbon dioxide emissions".

The decision, the first by a global manufacturer, means there will effectively be no new diesel Toyota cars on sale in Ireland next year.

Giving Toyota Ireland's perspective on the announcement, Steve Tormey, CEO of Toyota Ireland, said: "I am proud to be in the driver's seat of a company that is willing to make the hard decision to lead the Irish market out of diesel and help deliver cleaner air quality for our future and that of our children's children". For several years, hybrid versions dominated.

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Toyota Australia's vice-president sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, believes the new model will change the ownership experience of new Corolla buyers thanks to its improved levels of safety, dynamics and premium offering.

Last week it was reported that Fiat Chrysler - which also owns Jeep, Maserati and Alfa Romeo - would be ditching the under-fire fuel type from 2022.

The landmark decision marks the latest nail in the coffin for what has been dubbed "dirty diesel" in the wake of the Volkswagen "dieselgate scandal" and the so-called "demonisation of diesel" by politicians and environmentalists who actively encouraged motorists to switch to diesel- because its lower Carbon dioxide emissions helps reduce global warming and "save the planet" - before doing a u-turn over harmful particulates in older models to which they'd previously turned a blind eye.

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.

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"Since last summer, we have seen people in dealerships who we'd never seen before and who always drove diesel", said Toyota's spokesman in France, Sebastien Grellier.

The announcement follows one from Toyota's division in Italy which confirmed in January this year that it would no longer sell diesel-powered passenger cars in the country.

In Geneva, Toyota shared the next step of its powertrain strategy in Europe.

'The new generation Auris - to be produced in Burnaston next year - will come with three powertrains, including two petrol-electric hybrids. Meanwhile sales of Toyota's hybrid models have risen sharply.

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The company will keep diesel commercial vehicles like the Hilux truck, Land Cruiser SUV and Proace van to "meet customer needs", but that's as far as it goes.

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