17 January 2020

Toyota chief predicts car market trends for 2020

Toyota Corolla hybrid saloon

Never in the history of the automobile have motorists had a greater choice in terms of the powertrains available to them, writes Trish Whelan.

These options range from diesel, petrol, battery powered electric vehicles (BEVs), self-charging hybrids (HEVs), mild hybrids, and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) so there’s a lot for a potential buyer to think about.

Toyota, the world’s biggest car brand, has made a number of big decisions over the past 18 months to prepare for the trends in the decade ahead. They claim they already deliver the lowest C02 output of any car brand in Ireland with their average C02 output across the range in Ireland 17pc lower than the top 10 best-selling car brands. 

Steve Tormey, CEO of Toyota Ireland, believes that hybrid is the best option for the vast majority of Irish drivers looking for an electrified drive.

Corolla hybrid saloon
Toyota made the decision to invest in hybrid technology over 20 years ago as a key principle of its contribution towards sustainable development, and in recent years stopped providing diesel options in their cars in favour of more environmentally friendly options.

Here, 2019 saw a hybrid becoming Ireland’s best-selling car (Corolla Hybrid) and the new Toyota hybrids sold last year alone will result in the reduction of 60,000 tonnes of C02 from our environment over the course of their lifetime.

The company’s latest generation hybrids drive in zero emissions mode for 62pc of the time on average during daily commuting conditions. They expect that market share for self-charging full hybrids will hit 12pc to 14pc in 2020. 

Steve Tormey says other reasons to choose hybrid over other power trains include a higher resale value than diesels, relatively lower pricing compared to pure EVs and Plug-in hybrids, 30pc lower maintenance costs than combustion powered cars, up to 30pc better fuel economy than petrols cars, and up to 11pc better than diesel cars. 

Contrary to many other car distributors who are continuing to provide diesel power trains, he says ‘it is absolutely time to say goodbye to diesel in cars for the majority of Irish consumers’. “Diesels produce up to 90pc more NOX than hybrids and this fact was the driving force behind our decision to cease the sale of diesel cars in 2018. You also have to question the future resale value of diesels as more punitive NOX taxes are introduced in future Government budgets.”

Toyota Ireland predicts that diesel sales will continue their downward trajectory and will likely be 35pc of the overall market in 2020, down from 46pc in 2019 and 71pc in 2015. They believe that the proposition around petrol in mid to large cars is fast diminishing due to the rising price of petrol, future WLTP driven tax hikes that will penalise bigger petrol engines and the high C02 levels emitted. 

For this reason, Toyota decided last year to cease the sale of Corolla and Toyota C-HR petrol models from 2020, meaning that 90pc of their passenger vehicle sales this year will be self-charging hybrid. The only petrol cars they will sell this year are the 1.0 Yaris and Aygo. 

Toyota see petrol sales declining to 35pc this year with these customers moving into hybrid and EVs rather than back into diesel.