The head of the Volkswagen Group has predicted that diesel will soon experience a “renaissance” after the fuel’s fall from grace thanks to the German brand’s emissions-cheating scandal.

Hours before Toyota used the Geneva International Motor Show to announce its move away from diesels in Europe, VW Group CEO Matthias Müller predicted that buyers would soon return to oil-burners.

"Diesel will see a renaissance in the not-too-distant future because people who drove diesels will realise that it was a very comfortable drive concept," Müller said, according to Automotive News Europe.

"Once the knowledge that diesels are eco-friendly firms up in people's minds, then for me there's no reason not to buy one," he added.

"The rules of the game in the EU in relation to climate protection and emissions goals on CO2 are so challenging that governments cannot do without diesel," Müller said.

According to Jato Dynamics, sales of diesel cars fell 7,9% in Europe in 2017.

Of course, Volkswagen is also betting big on electric vehicles. But Herbert Diess, the head of the Volkswagen brand, said that diesel still had a role to play.

"We need diesel to get to the CO2 goals. Electric vehicles in many cases won't keep frequent drivers happy," Diess said.