South Korean Hyundai returns to Japanese car market with green vehicles

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. will re-enter the Japanese passenger car market this year, 12 years after exiting the market dominated by domestic automakers, betting on demand for its eco-friendly cars.

Hyundai Mobility Japan Co. will start taking orders for the IONIQ 5 electric vehicle and NEXO fuel cell vehicle from May for delivery from July.

Photo taken on February 8, 2022 in Tokyo shows the Hyundai Ioniq 5. South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. announced its re-entry into the Japanese market on the same day after its withdrawal in December 2009. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The plan, announced on Tuesday, marks Hyundai’s first passenger car sales in the world’s third-largest auto market since it went offline in December 2009, citing weak sales. The South Korean automaker has since sold buses in Japan.

The IONIQ 5 is equipped with a high capacity battery and can travel 618 kilometers on a single charge, according to the Japanese subsidiary. The electric vehicles will cost between 4.79 million yen ($41,500) and 5.89 million yen.

The hydrogen-powered NEXO, which will cost 7.76 million yen, can travel about 820 km without refueling.

Photo taken on February 8, 2022 in Tokyo shows the Hyundai Nexo. South Korean Hyundai Motor Co. announced its return to the Japanese market on the same day after its withdrawal in December 2009. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Hyundai entered the Japanese passenger car market in 2001 and sold some 2,500 vehicles at its peak in 2004. Sales then dropped to around 500 in 2008.

Explaining the back-to-school decision, Shigeaki Kato, General Manager of Hyundai Mobility Japan, said, “The market for electric vehicles and FCVs is (still) small in Japan. We want to offer a wider variety of cars.

Hyundai Mobility Japan, which changed its name from Hyundai Motor Japan, will sell the electric vehicles and FCVs online. He did not reveal their sales targets.

By the end of this year, the vehicles will be available for car-sharing and subscription services.

The Japanese unit will also open a base in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, this summer where customers can take test drives, consult on purchases and have their vehicles serviced, he added. A nationwide rollout will follow in other major parts of the country in conjunction with local repair shops.

According to the Japan Automobile Importers Association, a total of 259,752 foreign-branded new vehicles, mostly passenger cars, were sold in Japan in 2021, up 1.4% from the previous year. .

The figures represented 9.3% of the country’s overall new vehicle sales in 2021, excluding mini-vehicles, grabbing the largest share since comparable data became available in 1988.

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