Toyota says it is ending diesel auto production

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller

It's a logical business decision, then, when diesel models are clearly rapidly declining while demand for hybrids is increasing.

Underneath the new bodywork lies Toyota's TNGA platform, which also underpins models like the Prius and the C-HR.

In Ireland, diesel passenger auto sales have seen a 17% decline year-on-year between January 2017 and January 2018, and Toyota Ireland's diesel vehicle sales are now at only 20% of its overall mix, compared to 60% just two years ago.

Experts have noted that while major European manufacturers spent years betting the house on diesel as their environmentally friendly alternative, Toyota was making itself the industry leader in hybrids, which are powered by a combination of petrol and electric motors.

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 Japanese auto giant revealed the change in strategy at a briefing on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland.

From the outside, the new Corolla carries forward the current Toyota design philosophies of "Under Priority" and "Keen Look" or, as we would refer to them, "far more exciting than before".

Now more than 60 per cent of Burnaston production is hybrid.

'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'.

Diesels will be phased out across the board so that by the end of this year customers of passenger cars will no longer be able to specify a diesel.

In the UK, Toyota sold 101,692 units previous year, of which hybrids made up 45,803 units - equating to 45%, similar to Europe.

The new-generation Auris - debuted at Geneva - will be offered only with petrol and HEV powertrains; as with the C-HR in 2016, there will be no diesel version.

According to Toyota, the 1.8-litre hybrid Corolla will rival the Prius for fuel economy (3.4L/100km) and will see real-world usable all-electric range the company claims could account for up to 50 percent of everyday driving.

Toyota will continue to offer diesel engines in commercial vehicles (Hilux, Proace and Land Cruiser) to meet customer needs.

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