Toyota has started building diesel engines at its engine plants in Valenciennes, France and Deeside, UK.

The French plant, which began operations on Monday, will have the capacity to assemble 30,000 units of the 1.4 D-4D diesel engine annually, in addition to 150,000 petrol engines, for the Yaris (Vitz).

Toyota’s UK plant started production of diesel engines in early January. In 2003, the UK plant will build 70,500 2.0 litre D-4D engines, on top of 330,000 VVT-i petrol engines, for the Corolla and the new Avensis.

Diesel engine production in the UK is expected to rise to 100,000 units in 2004. Recently, Toyota announced it will start production of diesel engines in early 2005 in a new plant in Poland with an annual capacity of 120,000 units.

The extra engine capacity is in response to the increasing demand in Europe for diesel-equipped cars and will play an important role in aiding Toyota achieve its target of selling 800,000 units annually by 2005 at the latest.

In early 2002, the company launched the Toyota D-CAT concept, a revolutionary diesel emissions purification system. The most notable feature of D-CAT is DPNR (Diesel Particulate and NOx reduction system), a “world first” single-catalyst system that reduces particulate matter and nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust emissions without the use of any additives. The mass production of diesel cars equipped with D-CAT is scheduled to begin with the European Avensis later in 2003.