Declining sales are to blame.

Nissan is to gradually phase out its diesel models in Europe, it has been revealed. The Japanese carmaker already announced it was to cut hundreds of jobs at its Sunderland plant due to falling diesel demand, but now it has confirmed that the engine option will be phased out entirely in the coming years.

'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. 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,' a Nissan spokeswoman was quoted by Reuters.

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'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,' she added.

Data released earlier this month showed that in Britain – which is the second-largest market for diesel cars in Europe – demand for diesels have undergone a sharp decline.

In the first quarter of 2018, diesel demand in Britain fell by a third, while Nissan's sales in the UK have fallen by 35 percent – that's worse than the UK sales trend overall, which has slipped by 12 percent.

Nissan's ditching of diesel will allow it to focus on its expanding electric vehicle range, which is already going from strength to strength. The company's Leaf electric car is the best-selling electric car in the UK, and it also the most popular EV worldwide, and Nissan is currently launching an all-new second-generation version of the car. 

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Gallery: 2018 Nissan Leaf first drive