A major announcement by Toyota ahead of the Geneva Motor Show to phase out diesel engines from all its passenger cars in 2018 has sent shock waves through the motor industry.
Toyota is the first mainstream car brand to take immediate action away from diesel, which includes all current and future generation passenger cars, and will focus on more environmentally sustainable vehicles, led by self-charging hybrid electric cars.
Toyota chiefs say that the decision was made due to the success of its hybrid electric cars and the continued high demand they are experiencing for these cleaner vehicles.
In Ireland, diesel passenger car sales have seen a 17% decline year on year between January 2017 and January 2018, and Toyota Ireland's diesel car sales are now at only 20% of its overall mix, compared to 60% just two short years ago. In contrast, hybrid electric cars now represent almost 50% of Toyota Ireland's car sales mix, helping it achieve the No.1 market position for retail car sales in Ireland for the first two months of 2018.
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 difficult 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.
"Similar to the Irish Government, Toyota too has a vision for a zero emissions society, which we believe can be a reality by 2050. Toyota's self-charging hybrid electric cars are in electric mode for up to 55% of the time and have the best technology today to help achieve the move to full electrification."
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten said, "I welcome Toyota's leadership on this. As a country we have no option but to move towards a zero emissions vehicle society to help protect our environment, improve our health and to ensure the next generation doesn't suffer from complacency or inaction now. Climate change requires all of us to make changes and Toyota's initiative will significantly help lead us on our low-carbon journey."
Converting to non-diesel alternatives does not apply to Toyota’s commercial range; Land Cruiser, Hilux and Proace will continue to be offered with diesel technology to meet business needs.