Unlike the United States, Europe is a huge market for diesel vehicles. That's why Toyota's decision to sell hybrid cars rather than diesels was always a bit strange. The Toyota Prius is easily one of the most fuel efficient vehicles on sale in the US, but Europe receives many small diesel models that put the Prius' numbers to shame. Luckily for Toyota, its gamble on hybrids has paid off big time following the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal. Automotive News reports that Toyota is now seeing huge market share gains for its hybrid models in Europe.
Toyota is still a pretty small player in Europe with only 4.3% market share compared to Volkswagen, which leads with 24.1%. However, Toyota is expected to have gains of around 40% for its hybrid vehicles in Europe compared to 2015. Hybrid models currently account for 32% of the brand's sales in Europe, and should amount to over 50% of sales by the end of the decade. Toyota has done an excellent job educating buyers about its hybrid technology at the dealership level, too. Volkswagen declined to comment about surging hybrid sales, but we know that the German automaker is hard at work changing its focus to EVs rather than diesels.
Volkswagen has been forced to compensate its customers and cut a bunch of jobs in order to pay debts from the scandal. We could be witnessing the death of diesels, which means a lot for the European market. In the US, diesel is far less common, but Volkswagen may have started a chain reaction that will push the fuel source to its grave. Meanwhile, companies that thrive on hybrids and EVs, like Toyota and Tesla, can take advantage of VW's huge mistake.