Toyota to stop selling diesel cars in Europe this year

The new 2.0-litre hybrid will offer drivers an "energised drive" according to Toyota, with more power and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles for a more dynamic, engaging experience.

Last year, nearly 15% of the brand's cars sold in Europe were diesel-powered, while in 2012 their share was 30%.

The announcement was made on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show.

Toyota's distributors in Ireland registered 4,768 diesel cars past year.

Toyota's C-HR model was launched in late 2016 without a diesel, but with a popular hybrid accounting for 78 per of sales.

'Strong customer demand for hybrid electricity versions on its core models means Toyota will phase out diesel engines from all its passenger cars in 2018'.

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The auto firm said that 2017 hybrids represented 41 percent of Toyota Motor Europe total sales. The old generation had a single hybrid option and five "regular" engines; for the new generation, the tables are turned, as there will be only one conventional gasoline engine offered, a 1.2-liter turbo engine shared with the Yaris.

But the "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal that blew up at Volkswagen in 2015, heavily discrediting diesel technology, has created a new opening for Toyota, which was the first vehicle maker to market hybrid engines two decades ago.

For this reason, Toyota has made a decision to offer its core models with a choice of two hybrid powertrains; one providing the traditional benefits of fuel efficiency and a relaxing drive, the second building on these strengths with greater power and more dynamic driving characteristics.

The new Auris is built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) architecture, which is already used by the current Prius and C-HR models, which simplifies vehicle design in key areas while improving rigidity and lowering the centre of gravity.

It added:'Toyota will continue to offer diesel engines in commercial vehicles- such as Hilux, Proace and Land Cruiser - to meet customer needs. Since then, sales of the Japanese hybrid models have started to grow at a rapid pace.

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

  • Sonia Alvarado