Japanese company to shift focus to electrification

Nissan has confirmed it will gradually withdraw diesel-powered models in Europe, following a similar decision made by fellow Japanese automaker Toyota.

Speaking with industry journal Automotive News Europe, a "Nissan spokeswoman" confirmed the news, as a result of slowing sales and customer anxiety about looming tax rises, bans and restrictions.

"Along with other manufacturers and industry bodies we can see the progressive decline of diesel but we do not anticipate its sudden end in the short-term," she said.

"At this point in time and for many customers, modern diesel engines will remain in demand and continue to be available within Nissan's powertrain offering."

"In Europe, where our diesel sales are concentrated, our electrification push will allow us to discontinue diesel gradually from passenger cars at the time of each vehicle renewal," the spokeswoman added.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Nissan sold 128,456 diesel cars in Europe last year, equating to around 16 per cent of its deliveries in the region.

Meanwhile, a Reuters report last month cited an anonymous source that claimed the Japanese manufacturer would be laying off hundreds of employees at its Sunderland manufacturing facility in the UK, due to falling diesel sales – a similar decision was made by Jaguar Land Rover recently, too.

The news follows Toyota's announcement that it would axe diesel sales in Europe by the end of the year, which account for less than 10 per cent of the company's sales in the region. However, diesel versions of the LandCruiser (Prado), HiLux and Proace will continue to be sold.

Automotive News Europe adds that other Japanese manufacturers could follow suit, including Honda and Mazda, as European legislators move to tougher emissions regulations amidst the Volkswagen Group's Dieselgate saga.

In Australia, Nissan already has a fairly limited range of diesel-powered models, with only the X-Trail SUV and Navara ute offering oiler options – the UK-built Qashqai was available in diesel guise up until the facelifted model was launched last November.