Pop goes the diesel
Toyota is putting its faith in hybrids instead, writes PAUL GOVER
DIESEL passenger cars have no future with Toyota in Australia. Even though Brand T sells more diesels Down Under than any other brand — and most of its rivals combined— it sees no future for diesel cars.
Instead, Toyota is putting its faith in hybrids and forthcoming high-efficiency unleaded engines, though it will continue to dominate the diesel four-wheel-drive and workhorse business with its huge fleet of HiLuxes, HiAces and LandCruisers.
Toyota Australia head of sales and marketing Dave Buttner says: ‘‘We are not pursuing diesel in our passenger vehicles. There are no definitive plans for diesel.
‘‘There is no doubt that there are consumers attracted to diesel, but we believe we can achieve our volume and share aspirations on the back of the product plan we have for the figure.’’
Buttner dismisses existing Toyota diesel models on sale in Europe, including the Corolla.
‘‘Globally, Toyota believes Hybrid Synergy Drive — the system already used in the Prius and also destined for next year’s locally made Camry hybrid — is the technology of the future,’’ he says. ‘‘In Europe we’re seeing the emergence of high-efficiency petrol engines for small passenger cars.
‘‘Providing we can
the Hybrid Synergy Drive products at the right time we believe it will be advantageous over the medium and longer term.’’
Buttner admits the no-diesel plan runs counter to its existing strength in the fourwheel drive and commercial businesses, but says the two are very separate issues.
And even though none of its workhorses have the latest in diesel particulate filters to reduce emissions and they trail way behind benchmark diesel passenger cars, he says the technology is improving.
‘‘We’ve always been strong in diesels with commercial vehicles, but even there we have had reduced fuel consumption and improved emissions,’’ Buttner says.
Driving force: Toyota is putting its faith in the Hybrid Synergy Drive as used in the Prius.