BYD ups Japan ambitions
The dominant Chinese EV maker is portraying itself as a pioneer in the Japanese market
Chinese automaker BYD will add a third model to its own range of EVs sold in Japan next year, as it aims to grow its footprint in its East Asian neighbour. The firm sees "growing interest" in EVs in the Japanese market.
BYD exhibited five models at the Japan Mobility Show this month as it looks to grow its presence in the Japanese market. And it says it is the first-ever Chinese automaker to participate in the 47-year history of the event, which was previously called the Tokyo Motor Show.
Vehicles exhibited include the BYD Seal electric sedan, as well as the U8 hybrid SUV from BYD's premium electric sub-brand Yangwang — in its first display outside of China — and the Denza 9 high-end luxury MPV from its Denza subsidiary.
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The Seal — deigned to compete with US EV firm Tesla's Model 3 — will go on sale in Japan in spring 2024. The Yangwang U8 recently launched in China at a price point of RMB1.098mn ($150,000).
The Denza 9 will go on sale next year in RMB335,000-445,000 price range.
“With Japanese consumers by our side, we are promoting the adoption of EV products and technology, aiming to make EVs the essential vehicles in people's daily life, and to pioneer the transition to sustainable mobility,” says Liu Xueliang, general manager of BYD’s Asia-Pacific auto sales division.
BYD entered the Japanese passenger vehicle market last year, selling the Atto 3 from January. In September it launched the Dolphin, which it offers as a long-range and standard model. The firm says the model has been adapted to the needs of the Japanese market, including a lower overall height to be compatible with mechanical parking facilities.
BYD operates 15 showrooms across major cities in Japan including Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka. But the company has big ambitions to open 100 showrooms by the end of 2025.
Earlier this year, it signed a car dealership contract with Japanese trading house Sojitz.
The Japanese government has set a target to achieve a 100pc EVs in domestic passenger car sales by 2035. And the nation’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has doubled its EV charging installation target from 150,000 units to 300,000 units by 2030.
From 2025, Tokyo’s metropolitan authority requires new apartment developments to incorporate a certain level of EV charger installations.
BYD sold over 1.3mn electric vehicle units in H1 2023 across the world, doubling sales year-on-year, according to analyst Canalys.
BYD’s top-selling models — the Yuan plus, Dolphin, and Song Pro — represent 9pc of global EV sales.