New Toyota Auris, aka Corolla iM, has only one non-hybrid powerplant

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Japanese vehicle giant Toyota announced Monday that it will stop selling diesel cars in Europe, beginning the phase-out this year.

A vehicle with the Volkswagen VW logo badge is seen on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 16, 2018.

Other manufacturers, notably Suzuki and Kia, have long-standing commitments to hybrid, but "Toyota was the first and focused all its efforts on developing and positioning the technology as a good alternative" to diesel, said Felipe Munoz, an expert at London-based auto industry analysts Jato Dynamics.

The Japanese company is the world's third largest auto manufacturer but it has always struggled to match that impact in Europe.

Fewer than 7 per cent of Toyota's United Kingdom sales were diesel a year ago, dropping to just 4.5 per cent in January, with the rest being petrol and hybrid. Registrations have become increasingly weighted towards hybrids since 2015, when sales were split evenly between hybrids and diesels.

Previous year almost 15 percent of Toyota's sales in Europe were from diesel vehicles, down from 30 percent in 2012.

Volkswagen, whose global emissions-cheating scandal has put the future of diesel engines in doubt, expects consumers to return to the embattled technology - and soon.

Inside, the 2018 Aygo gets updated graphics, which Toyota says appear more three-dimensional as a result, and a new colour for the interior lighting.

The current Auris powertrain line-up consists of five conventional engines and one hybrid powertrain.

Diesels will be phased out across the board so that by the end of this year customers of passenger cars will no longer be able to specify a diesel.

The announcement was made on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show.

Toyota has pulled the covers off its all-new Auris hatchback at the Geneva motor show, showing the world the auto that will go into production at its Burnaston factory in Derbyshire later this year.

Toyota will continue to offer diesel engines in commercial vehicles (Hilux, Proace and Land Cruiser) to meet customer needs.

In 2017, HEVs represented 41% of TME total sales, rising +38% year-on-year to 406,000 units.