Toyota is Ireland’s Best-Selling Car Brand in 2021 as Hybrid Hits Highest Market Share Ever


January SIMI sales figures show demonstrable shift from diesel towards lower emissions vehicles

Toyota has taken the lead as Ireland’s best-selling car brand with a 15% market share in January 2021, a key selling period for the car industry. Driven by an invigorated demand for low CO2 emitting, environmentally sustainable cars, Toyota has three self-charging hybrid models in SIMI’s list of top five new car purchases last month and has the lowest average CO2 emissions of 86.49g/km.

Toyota, which has both the widest range of low emissions cars in Ireland and sells more electrified cars than any other brand, exited the diesel passenger car market in 2018 and since then has been leading the charge from heavier polluting vehicles into electrification. In January, 93% of all Toyota sales have been hybrid.

Driven by hybrid

In powertrain terms, hybrid has had a significant year-on-year market share increase with a 32% jump in popularity, and now accounts for almost 20% of the entire new car market. This growth has been achieved without any cost to Government given there are no incentives on new hybrid purchases.

In contrast, the demand for both pure petrol and diesel powered cars has dropped, with diesel falling further than any other powertrain with more than a 12% decrease compared to January 2020.

Commenting on the January market numbers, Steve Tormey, Chief Executive of Toyota Ireland, said, “The preference for self-charging hybrids continues to go from strength to strength. Considering overall market penetration for hybrid cars was at 5.5% just three years ago, the consumer mindset shift towards more sustainable motoring is really gathering pace now and the tide is starting to turn against higher emitting vehicles like diesel.

“While Toyota has been pushing the sustainability agenda for more than 20 years, it feels like Ireland is finally coming to the crossroads and starting to tip things in the favour of our planet. However, with diesel still accounting for 37% of the market it’s clear that we still have a long journey ahead of us, despite the promising growth in both hybrids and BEVs.

“The Government’s introduction of the new CO2 related tax bands does seem to be having the right impact though, with 82% of all new car sales in January qualifying within the A band. We at Toyota are proud to say that over 99% of all the cars we sold in 2021 to date have been under 111grams/km. As the lowest CO2 mass market brand in Ireland, Toyota hybrid vehicles sold in 2019 and 2020 will have saved over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 from the environment over their lifetime, compared to petrol and diesel cars.

“Toyota’s focus on hybrid epitomises our commitment to our brand promise, ‘Built for a Better World’, which aims to make life better for Irish families and future generations by providing more sustainable mobility solutions. Staying true to our Kaizen principles of continuous improvement, our new highly affordable Yaris hybrid is proven to drive up to 80% of the time in zero emissions mode in city driving conditions. With the widest range of cost-effective electrified cars in Ireland, Toyota is ensuring when it comes to choosing your next car, being environmentally conscious doesn’t need to cost the Earth.”

Trading Conditions

While trading conditions continue to be challenging due to Covid-19 and the industry at large has seen a 17.8% drop on new car registrations compared to January 2020, Toyota’s Irish market share remains relatively in line with how it started last year.

In these early days of 2021, Toyota is seeing some promising growth areas with the RAV4 hybrid achieving double-digit growth and demonstrating the highest year-on-year increase (32%) of the top ten sellers by some margin. In addition, preference for hybrid is expected to grow even further as evidenced by the recent national survey findings by DoneDeal that reported a considerable 35% of drivers would choose hybrid for their next new car purchase – representing the highest preference rate across all power train options.

Furthermore, while dealerships are currently open on a service-only basis, Irish consumers have adapted well to purchasing online and Toyota has been welcoming customers to its new virtual showroom and providing access to online sales tools on Toyota.ie since the first lockdown in 2020.

Here, from the safety of their own homes, customers can engage in personalised video calls and live chat with Toyota sales executives, watch immersive and educational product videos showcasing the full Toyota range, configure their new car to their preferred specifications, and complete trade-in valuations and financing. Unaccompanied test drives can also be arranged, and can be undertaken from the customer’s home.

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