Like it or not, diesel engines look like they might disappear from passenger cars in only a few years. America never really cared for them; Volkswagen made sure Europe won’t either from now on; and with major cities like Paris, Athens, Madrid and Mexico City considering banning diesels by 2025, the market could dry up quicker than anybody thought.
Even today, tight emission standards make diesel engine production so expensive compared to the gas alternatives that with the current fuel prices in mind, buying pricier diesels hardly makes financial sense anymore. Toyota (and Japanese brands in general) decided not to jump on the diesel train back when it looked so tempting, investing their R&D budgets instead in filling up their lineups with electrified options. Now, Toyota’s sales boom suggests that Europeans have switched their allegiances to hybrids.
Automotive News reports that, while Toyota only has a 4.3 percent market share in Europe currently, the brand’s hybrids already account for about 32 percent of its sales in the region. Year over year, Toyota is poised to enjoy a 40-percent jump in hybrid sales compared to 2015.
Toyota’s success is partly down to its strategy of educating customers at the dealer level. Before letting people try out their diesels, Toyota sales staff makes sure prospective customers take a hybrid out for a test drive as well. The plan is to double Toyota’s hybrid sales figure, raising European hybrid sales above half a million a year while ruling out the diesel options gradually, starting with the C-HR.
Clearly, Volkswagen’s diesel deception has caused a lot of European buyers to rethink their allegiance to the oil-burner. And Toyota finds itself perfectly positioned to take advantage of that.