Toyota, the world’s biggest motor manufacturer, said it would never again sell diesel cars in Britain after December.
At the same time, Subaru said it would sell its existing stock of diesels but not make any more – with its last ever new diesel cars expected to hit British showrooms this time next year.
Demand for diesels has collapsed since the Volkswagen emissions scandal rocked the world in September 2015.
Only a third of cars sold in the UK are now diesel – 28,317 last month – down from nearly half just a year ago.
The latest announcements, which came at the Geneva Motor Show, will add to fears that existing diesel drivers will increasingly be targeted as the Government seeks to rid the roads of the most polluting vehicles.
Johan van Zyl, President of Toyota Motor Europe, said: “Toyota will stop selling diesel passenger cars in all European markets by the end of this year.
“In some markets they will be phased out even faster- some by the end of this quarter.”
The company added: “Strong customer demand for hybrid electricity versions on its core models means Toyota will phase out diesel engines from all its passenger cars in 2018.”
The company said that 41 per cent of its sales in Europe last year were hybrids, a rise of 38 per cent year-on-year. Less than 10 per cent of its sales were diesel cars.
Subaru’s UK chief Chris Graham said its sales network would run out of supplies of diesels by mid 2019, after which it will not continue to offer diesel engines.
He said: “We can only sell what the manufacturer produces, and moving forward it looks like they will probably not be producing any diesels.
“We’re working very hard, particularly in Scotland and Northern Ireland, which are both very hardcore diesel areas. We’ve secured ourselves enough diesels to move us beyond the point of exhausting all those customers who want to change at the moment.”
The Alliance of British Drivers said diesel owners – many of whom were encouraged to buy their vehicles by previous Governments – were being unfairly targeted.
It said: “The true situation is that car emissions – and indeed those of all major atmospheric pollutants – have been dramatically declining for the past four-and-a-half decades.
“Given that UK urban air pollution has declined dramatically and average life expectancies have steadily risen year-on-year since the Clean Air Act – and will continue to do so with continuing advances in technology – isn’t it time the environmental lobby and cynical politicians laid off road users and focused their attention elsewhere?”
The demise of diesel is also bad news for the British car industry. More than 90 per cent of Jaguar Land Rover sales last year were diesels and it has invested heavily in a new, multi-billion pound diesel engine plant in Wolverhampton. Ford has also invested £400m on its diesel plant in Dagenham.
Toyota said it would continue to offer a handful of diesel engines, for its Land Cruiser 4×4 and for some commercial vehicles such as the Hilux and Proace.
The world’s other biggest car makers – Volkswagen and Renault Nissan – are expected to make major announcements on the future of diesel cars soon.
Fiat Chrysler – which owns Jeep, Maserati and Alfa Romeo – has already confirmed it will cease production in 2022.
Last month Porsche axed production of all diesel cars claiming there had been a ‘major cultural shift’ in the market.