Monday, July 15, 2024
30 C
Brunei Town

Hyundai to seek impact in challenging Japan market

ANN/THE KOREA HERALD – Hyundai Motor is banking on its latest all-electric small vehicle, the Casper Electric, to make a significant impact in the challenging Japanese market, where the Korean automaker has struggled to gain traction.

The Casper Electric will make its debut during the press day at the Busan International Mobility Show on Thursday. Following its launch in Korea in the second half of this year, Hyundai plans to introduce the Casper Electric to the Japanese market next year.

Hyundai began selling passenger cars in Japan in 2001 but decided to pull out in 2009 and focus on other global regions as the Japanese auto market has been dominated by domestic brands and closed to imports. Despite the past struggles and adversities, Hyundai announced a comeback to the Japanese auto sector in May 2022 as the Korean carmaker shifted its marketing strategy to focus on the electric vehicle (EV) market, which has not yet gained much ground in Japan.

According to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association, 88,535 EVs were sold in the country last year, accounting for about 2.2 per cent of all new passenger car sales.

Zeroing on the untapped EV market, Hyundai Motor’s Japanese marketing strategy has been centered on the Ioniq 5, a medium-sized electric sports utility vehicle (SUV), and Kona Electric, a small SUV.

However, it only sold 317 cars in the first five months of this year, according to the Japan Automobile Importers Association. The Korean automaker hopes the Casper will be a better fit for the market because of Japanese drivers’ preference for mini vehicles, which take up over 30 per cent of the passenger car market.

Hyundai’s intention to target the Japanese mini-vehicle market with the new small EV was on show since January when photos of the Casper Electric in Japan surfaced online.

“I think the Casper Electric will become (Hyundai Motor’s) most sold model once it goes on sale in Japan,” Kim Pil-su, a car engineering professor at Daelim University, told The Korea Herald on yesterday.

A teaser image of the Hyundai Casper Electric. PHOTO: THE KOREA HERALD