GENEVA -- Toyota Motor said on Monday it will stop selling diesel passenger cars in Europe and focus on hybrid vehicles instead.
Based on the decision, diesel engine options will no longer be available in new models, starting this year. Toyota will place hybrid cars at the core of sales as the possibility of a ban on diesel cars in cities in Western European countries such as Germany and Britain has accelerated consumers' shift away from such cars toward gasoline and electric cars.
The revelation came during an interview with Nikkei and other media ahead of the 88th Geneva International Motor Show which kicked off on Tuesday.
Johan van Zyl, CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, said diesel will be phased out because customers do not want it.
The new policy will target not only Western Europe but the rest of Europe as well, including Russia and Turkey.
While Toyota eliminates diesel options for its new Auris, it will offer two hybrid options -- conventional and high-output.
The automaker's diesel car sales in Europe continue to fall, accounting for mid-10% of its overall sales in the region in 2017. This contrasts with the brisk hybrid car sales, which have almost doubled to 41% over two years.
The existing regulations in Europe require automakers to limit the average carbon dioxide emissions to 95 grams or less per kilometer for cars in 2021.
Toyota believes that target can be attained by raising its hybrid car sales ratio to more than 50%.
The automaker is scheduled to launch full electric cars in the early 2020s.