New Toyota Corolla hatch revealed at Geneva show

Marsha Scott
March 7, 2018

Toyota has made a name for itself by offering hybrid power across its range - and the firm is going to ramp up its commitment to the technology with this new generation of Auris, which has made its debut at the Geneva show.

Toyota is joining the growing list of vehicle manufacturers who are dropping diesel-powered cars from their lineups, at least in Europe.

The Japanese auto giant revealed the change in strategy at a briefing on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland. Registrations have become increasingly weighted towards hybrids since 2015, when sales were split evenly between hybrids and diesels.

Strong customer demand for HEV versions on its core models means Toyota will phase out diesel engines from all its passenger cars in 2018. Meanwhile sales of Toyota's hybrid models have risen sharply.

For several years, HEV versions have been the dominant powertrain where offered.

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But the Auris will also introduce a new 2.0-litre hybrid configuration, with 177bhp, and Toyota says this powertrain will have a greater focus on performance to better exploit the TNGA platform's benefits.

The new Toyota Auris has been launched at the Geneva Motor Show, with a new 2.0-litre petrol hybrid system and sportier styling.

However, the company will continue to offer diesel models of its Land Cruiser SUV, Hilux pickup truck and Proace light commercial vehicles as some customers prefer the higher torque that's offered by diesel engines.

But the "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal that blew up at Volkswagen in 2015, heavily discrediting diesel technology, has created a new opening for Toyota, which was the first vehicle maker to market hybrid engines two decades ago.

Meanwhile, as awareness grows about diesel engines spewing out nitrogen oxide and harmful particulates, diesel sales in Europe are plummeting. More than 40 per cent of Toyota's European sales were hybrids past year, dominated by the C-HR's 80 per cent hybrid mix. Volkswagen chief Matthias Mueller is convinced that diesel will "experience a revival", but that may be optimistic - it has a bad rap in Europe, and EVs may kill it off even if there is a resurgence.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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