New Toyota Auris, aka Corolla iM, has only one non-hybrid powerplant

On the eve of this week's Geneva Motor Show, Europe's first major auto show of the year, Toyota said it will stop selling diesel cars in Europe, beginning the phase-out this year.

Mueller spoke Monday at a Volkswagen event ahead of the Geneva International Motor Show.

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 gasoline and electric generators. Registrations have become increasingly weighted towards hybrids since 2015, when sales were split evenly between hybrids and diesels.

Japan's biggest car-maker has responded to Europe's burgeoning diesel crisis by abandoning the fuel. About 41 percent of cars sold through its European branch were hybrid models, while diesel represented "less than" 10 percent.

Based on customer feedback the brand has chose to offer its core models with a choice of two hybrid electric powertrains. Engine line-up for the Auris will bring the 121bhp 1.8-litre HEV drivetrain from the C-HR and Prius along with a 114bhp 1.2-litre turbo petrol and a 178bhp 2.0-litre HEV. The move comes at a time when the company has reported a fall in the sales of the diesel engine vehicles.

"Diesel will be phased out in our passenger cars in 2018", Johan van Zyl, president of Toyota Motor Europe, said in Geneva, where Europe's first major auto show of the year opens this week. "In commercial vehicles, where personal and business needs (for example, torque and payload) remain, we will continue to offer the latest technology diesels".

Toyota says the chief goal with the new Auris was to create "the most bold and dynamic hatchback on the market, without compromising on interior usability".

The new 2.0-liter hybrid engine builds on the 1.8-liter's competencies and takes advantage of Toyota's TNGA architecture that also underpins the new Camry and Prius.

Without giving away technical details, Toyota says the new Corolla will offer improvements in power, torque and efficiency over the current-generation auto.

  • Joey Payne