Toyota Ireland chief predicts rapid shift from diesel to hybrid

Steve Tormey, chief executive with Toyota Ireland. Photo: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Steve Tormey, chief executive with Toyota Ireland. Photo: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Toyota Ireland’s chief executive, Steve Tormey has predicted a bright 2018 for hybrid sales, and a negative future for diesel.

Based upon sales patterns in 2017 and pre-sales indicators for 2018, Tormey reckons that preference for petrol hybrid cars will double from 3.4 per cent in 2017 to seven per cent in 2018.

Meanwhile, the executive has predicted that diesel will account for only 45 per cent of the overall market, down from 65 per cent in 2018. Looking further ahead, Tormey believes that by 2020, diesel is likely to be down close to 20 per cent of the overall market, with hybrid picking many diesel defectors.

Demand for diesel cars in the UK dropped 17 per cent, with a swing back to petrol models. Tormey believes that this is a concern for the Irish market as it may become a dumping ground for unwanted UK diesel cars, so depressing the resale value of diesel cars in Ireland even further.

Consistently in Ireland’s top two selling car brands over the past decade, Mr. Tormey claims that Toyota’s sales serve as a trend barometer to predict where the Irish market is going proportionally.

Commenting on the year gone by and his 2018 forecast, he said; “The demise of diesel is very plain to see, but our feeling is that the Irish market will move out of diesel far quicker than the industry would like, or believe.”

“In our planning for 2018, we had predicted our hybrid mix of total passenger car sales to grow from 30 per cent to 45 per cent. However the demand coming into 2018 is more like 55 per cent hybrid.

“Our diesel demand coming into 2018 is down from a 38 per cent mix to 18 per cent, which we had predicted, as Irish consumers look to protect their future resale value and the environment.”

“Looking further ahead, it is our prediction that hybrid will go from strength to strength, doubling in volume in 2018, again in 2019 and possibly 2020 to make up close to 25 per cent of the total passenger car market. However this prediction is very much dependent on the government’s continued recognition of the importance of Hybrid as an obvious stepping stone to pure Electric Vehicles (EVs ), which will not be a mass consumer option until 2022 and beyond.”

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