BYD Seal enters Japan as the OEM's sales struggle to take off

  • BYD’s sales have been lukewarm since entering the Japanese passenger vehicle market.
BYD Seal
BYD’s sales have been lukewarm since entering the Japanese passenger vehicle market. (Bloomberg)
BYD Seal
BYD’s sales have been lukewarm since entering the Japanese passenger vehicle market.

China’s BYD Co. rolled out its third electric vehicle in Japan as it tried to find traction in a market dominated by hybrids and domestic brands.

The Seal electric sedan went on sale Tuesday for ¥5.28 million ($33,100) with a battery capacity of 82 kilowatt hours, the company said. An all-wheel-drive model will be priced at ¥6.05 million.

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BYD’s sales have been lukewarm since entering the Japanese passenger vehicle market, where it faces a rebound in the popularity of hybrids and loyalty to domestic brands like Toyota Motor Corp.

BYD registered 2,206 new vehicles in 2023, falling far short of the 34,000 units sold by Nissan Motor Co.’s Sakura, the country’s most popular EV. Overall, the automaker’s sales in Japan fell 26% in April from a year earlier, and 28% in May.

The Seal’s price in Japan is close to that of Tesla Inc.’s Model 3, which goes for about ¥5.3 million. The gasoline-powered model of Toyota’s popular Corolla can be had for ¥2 million.

Building a presence in countries like Japan is becoming increasingly important as Chinese EV makers face growing hostility in North America and Europe. The US has imposed tariffs of more than 100% on Chinese EVs, effectively locking them out of the country and Canada is considering following suit. The EU has proposed hiking imposts on Chinese electric cars to as high as 48% later this year.

BYD now operates 55 locations across Japan. It aims to reach 90 by the end of 2024, and 100 by the end of 2025.

First Published Date: 25 Jun 2024, 08:00 AM IST
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