There has been a tidal wave in sales of new diesel cars in the past 18 months. Diesel powered car sales increased 39.4 per cent in 2001 and in the first four months of 2002 they are up a further 53.6 per cent, accounting for virtually all of the 9 per cent growth in new car sales overall.

Toyota is riding the wave in style with its own diesel sales up 76 per cent in 2001 and a whopping 120 per cent in 2002 so far – twice the growth rate of the diesel market.

Percentage Increase in Diesel Car Sales in the UK

  2001 2002 (Jan-April)
All Petrol +9.3% +0.7%
All Diesel +39.4% +53.6%
Toyota Diesel +76.4% +119.9%

This boom, in what was until recently thought of as the poor relation of power units, is due to changes in company car taxation, fuel prices and much improved diesel engine technology that has turned old oil burners into road burners and head turners.

Toyota has successfully met this demand with several new models, most recently the Yaris with its 1.4-litre turbo diesel derivative joining the 2.0-litre units in Corolla, Avensis, RAV4 and Previa. Toyota’s high power, low consumption, low maintanence common rail, direct injection D-4D technology makes diesels attractive to those who previously might never have considered a diesel.

Graham Smith, Managing Director of Toyota (GB) PLC, explains the growth of diesel sales, Toyota’s in particular: "Traditional perceptions are changing and there is an increasing acceptability of diesel powered cars. Customers considering their first diesel feel reassured by Toyota’s reputation for making strong, reliable engines while our innovative D-4D diesel technology provides them with the dynamic driving experience they are used to from petrol engined cars."

The future for diesel is very bright, at least if Toyota’s latest concept car is anything to go by. Called ES3, this small hatchback sized car is capable of over 100mpg and produces CO2 emissions – crucial for company car tax discounts – of just 71g/km. It uses the 1.4litre D-4D engine from the Yaris and showcases technology that will be built into future mass production cars.

Published : 31/05/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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