Pop goes the diesel

Toy­ota is putting its faith in hy­brids in­stead, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

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

bring

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.

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