The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Toyota, Volkswagen auto sales to push planet beyond 1.5C heating limit: study

HAMBURG, Germany

Automakers worldwide are on track to sell an estimated 400 million more diesel and petrol vehicles than is feasible to keep global heating under 1.5degC, according to a new report published by Greenpeace Germany.[1][2] The overshoot is equivalent to approximately five times the total number of cars and vans sold globally in 2021.

Auto sales by Toyota, Volkswagen, and Hyundai/Kia are on track to exceed the 1.5degC compatible trajectory by 63 million, 43 million, and 39 million combustion engine vehicles, respectively, jeopardizing global climate action, the report finds.

"Leading auto manufacturers, including Toyota, Volkswagen, and Hyundai, are transitioning far too slowly to zero-emission vehicles, which has dangerous consequences for our planet. As the climate crisis intensifies, governments from New York to Singapore are enacting stricter bans on diesel and petrol vehicles. If traditional automakers fail to electrify, they will lose out to newer, all-electric competitors and risk stranded assets. Toyota, Volkswagen and other leading automakers are on a collision course with the climate," said Benjamin Stephan, climate campaigner at Greenpeace Germany.

Expected combustion engine vehicle sales overshoot relative to a 1.5degC carbon budget (as calculated in the Greenpeace Germany report )

Greenpeace automaker chart

Traditional automakers that are slow to transition to electric vehicles face potential stranded assets and risk a significant loss of market share as climate regulations take hold. The report finds that over US$2 trillion is at risk in market capitalization and debt across the world's 12 largest car manufacturers alone.

"As representatives from around the world convene at COP27 this week, Toyota and other automakers continue to ignore the severity of the climate crisis. Car companies need to stop selling diesel and petrol vehicles, including hybrids, by 2030 at the latest. At the same time, they must reduce supply chain emissions and ensure that workers' rights are protected amid the transition," said Stephan.

Toyota is the largest automaker in the world by sales, yet a recent study from Greenpeace East Asia found that electric vehicles comprised only one out of 500 cars that the company sold in 2021. Toyota received the lowest score in Greenpeace East Asia's 2022 auto ranking due to its slow transition to zero-emission vehicles.

The full report, The Internal Combustion Engine Bubble, is available here. Media briefing is available here

Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

+31 20 718 2000