Electrification over diesels, says Toyota’s second-in-command
Diesel cars have earned a bad rap lately thanks to Volkswagen’s scandal and accusations that other automakers have been cheating on emissions rules. And as companies perfect new technologies to save fuel and cut emissions, some say diesels will fall by the wayside. Now, Toyota will stop introducing new diesel cars in Europe, if executive vice president Didier Leroy has his way.
Speaking with Autocar, Leroy said that the company’s success with electrified vehicles has eliminated the need to offer diesels to private buyers. “My personal opinion – and this is my personal opinion, not a company one – is no, we’ll not launch another diesel car,” he said.
According to Leroy, Toyota will phase out diesel engines in some of the older, larger cars it sells in Europe. Toyota sells a few Yaris subcompacts with a diesel engine, but just for fleet customers.
Leroy came to his conclusion about diesel vehicles a few years ago, before VW’s dieselgate scandal broke in September 2015. In 2014, he took the unpopular position of approving production of the C-HR crossover without a diesel engine option.
“We took the view, a long time ago, that we would not sell the C-HR with a diesel engine,” Leroy told Autocar. “At the time, the distributors were against my decision. They said they needed diesel for the market. But we needed to follow the long-term trend of eco-vehicles.”
Diesel sales have dropped off across Europe this year due to concerns over emissions and regulations restricting older diesels. A recent study by IHS Markit showed that diesel loyalty has fallen sharply in Germany, a key market for the powertrain technology. In July 2015, 69.5 percent of diesel owners who gave up their cars traded in for another diesel, but exactly two years later, that number dropped to 47.7 percent.
Some cities and countries in Europe vow to eliminate the sale of cars powered by diesel and gasoline. Britain and France say they’ll do so by 2040.