Toyota executive vice president, Didier Leroy, confirmed at the ongoing Tokyo motor show that the brand is unlikely to introduce a diesel model in Europe.
While he did say this was his personal view rather than company policy, Leroy said that the manufacturer’s success with petrol engines and plug-in hybrids had proved that it was unnecessary to offers consumers a diesel alternative.
“My personal opinion - and this is my personal opinion, not a company one - is no, we’ll not launch another diesel car,” he said. Leroy is considered the second most powerful decision-maker at Toyota, behind CEO Akio Toyoda.
Toyota’s executive vice president said that this view was cemented in 2014, before the dieselgate scandal broke, when he signed off production of the C-HR crossover without a diesel option, despite opposition from some dealers.
“We took the view, a long time ago, that we would not sell the C-HR [crossover] with a diesel engine,” said Leroy. “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.”
The CH-R crossover has helped Toyota in Europe post impressive sales, increasing the share of the brand’s SUVs from 12 percent in 2016 to 30 percent of the total, based on data from JATO.
Sales of private diesel vehicles have seen a decline in Europe in 2017 due to government legislation and increased consumer awareness regarding emissions. After introducing the CH-R in only petrol and hybrid options, Toyota will also use the same strategy with its new Yaris hatchback, although a diesel option will be there in limited numbers for fleet customers.
The Japanese manufacturer offers older models with diesel motors, some of which have been sourced from BMW. However, Leroy suggested that these options will be systematically phased out with each new product launch.