Toyota has joined Nissan in predicting that the number of new diesel cars being bought will fall off dramatically within two years. Toyota's CEO, Steve Tormey, says diesel demand will drop back by twenty per cent this year and will accelerate down by 2020.

Toyota has invested heavily in hybrid engine technology for many years and has had an uphill struggle to convince the market of its merits. Now, however, Steve Tormey is predicting that hybrid cars will overtake diesel sales within two years and that Irish buyers will abandon diesel cars much more quickly than expected.

Steve Tormey of Toyota Ireland says the future picture for diesel is "a very negative one indeed".
Steve Tormey of Toyota Ireland says the future picture for diesel is "a very negative one indeed".

His analysis of the future of diesel is in line with that of Nissan, which said before Christmas that its pre-orders for 2018 indicated a strong move away from diesel cars.

Mr Tormey described the future picture for diesel is "a very negative one indeed, while it’s very positive for hybrid".,

He predicts that diesel will account for only 45% of the overall market in 2018, down from 65% in 2017, while preference for petrol hybrid powertrains will double from 3.4% in 2017 to 7% in 2018. Looking further ahead, he believes that by 2020 diesel is likely to be down close to 20% of the overall market, with hybrid picking many diesel defectors to round out at roughly 25% of the market.

"This trend is similar across Europe, where diesel sales are collapsing. In Germany, the diesel share now only accounts for 38.8% of sales, down from 45% a year ago, while diesel sales in the UK collapsed by a third towards the end of 2017. This is a concern for the Irish market as it may become a dumping ground for unwanted UK diesel cars, so depressing the resale value of diesel cars in Ireland even further", he says.

Commenting on the year gone by and his 2018 forecast, he said Toyota's analysis is that the Irish market will move out of diesel far quicker than the industry would like, or believe.

He says Toyota's planning for 2018 predicted a hybrid mix of total passenger car sales to grow from 30% to 45%.

"However the demand coming into 2018 is more like 55% Hybrid. Our diesel demand coming into 2018 is down from a 38% mix to 18%, which we had predicted, as Irish consumers look to protect their future resale value and the environment from a health point view.

Looking further ahead, it’s our prediction that hybrid will go from strength to strength, doubling in volume in 2018, again in 2019 and possibly 2020 to make up close to 25% of the total passenger car market. However, this prediction is very much dependent on the government’s continued recognition of the importance of hybrid as an obvious stepping stone to pure EV’s, which will not be a mass consumer option until 2022 and beyond "