Although he stressed that it was a personal view rather than a company ruling, Didier Leroy said he believed that the firm’s success with petrol-based and plug-in hybrids had proved that it was no longer necessary to offer private buyers diesels.
“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 regarded as the second most powerful decision-maker at Toyota, behind CEO Akio Toyoda.
Leroy added that his view was established in 2014, prior to Dieselgate, when he signed off production of the C-HR crossover without the option of a diesel powertrain, 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 has been a massive sales success for Toyota in Europe, pushing its sales of SUVs up from 12% of its total in 2016 to 30% this year, according to JATO data.
Diesel sales have slumped across Europe, including in the UK, in 2017, as a result of growing public awareness of NOx pollution and punitive legislative measures on older diesels.Following the launch of the CH-R, Toyota has taken the same petrol or petrol-hybrid only course with the new Yaris, although a diesel is offered in limited numbers to fleet customers.