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BYD Enter’s the Japanese market, tore open the “import restricted area”

After taking the 2022 semi-annual global new energy vehicle sales championship from Tesla, BYD set its sights on the Japanese market, which is known as a “no-go area for imported cars”. Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as BYD) officially announced its entry into the Japanese passenger car market with the unveiling of three models: Yuan PLUS, Dolphin and Seal.

▲ Photo source: BYD

Among them, Yuan PLUS is expected to go on sale in January 2023, while Dolphin and Seal are expected to go on sale in the middle and second half of 2023, respectively.

Because of the large number of local brands, competition is very fierce, and some traditional foreign brands withdrew from the market years ago. Japan was seen as a “no-go zone” for imported cars, a situation that has now changed.

Although it is difficult for foreign brands to enter the Japanese market in the fuel car era, Chinese car companies represented by BYD may be able to make a difference because of the shortcomings of Japanese car companies in the field of electric vehicles. Once the mouth is torn open, the car companies that have established a firm foothold first are expected to become a bridgehead and reduce the resistance to entry.

This year, China is expected to be the world’s largest auto consumer, based on the world’s second-largest auto exporter. Looking back at the past history of China’s auto exports, it is clear to see that China’s auto exports selling point, from cost-effective to high-tech, behind the gradual increase in added value, is that the Chinese auto industry has become a key technology curator of new energy and intelligent network connection.

▲ Photo source: BYD

The “import ban” of the fuel car era

The new energy era ushers in an opportunity

“From today, we will work together with excellent local dealers and partners to gradually establish a perfect sales and service system to bring Japanese consumers a greener way to travel and a better service experience.” Liu Xueliang, general manager of BYD’s Asia Pacific Automotive Sales Division, said at the launch on July 21.

It is reported that BYD Auto Japan (Yokohama City), BYD’s new passenger car sales company, will build a sales network and provide customer support, charging and after-sales services. Atsuki Higafukuji, president of the new company, said he plans to open more than 100 stores across Japan by 2025.

Liu Xueliang, General Manager of BYD Asia Pacific Automotive Sales Division (third from left); Li Yunfei, General Manager of BYD Brand and PR Division (third from right); Atsuki Higafukuji, Chairman and General Manager of BYD JAPAN Corporation (second from left)

In fact, BYD’s products have been in the Japanese market for a long time, and the company started its Japanese business in 1999. At present, BYD’s pure electric bus, new energy storage system and pure electric forklift business have all landed in Japan.

However, in the outside world, BYD may need to spend more effort to open the Japanese passenger car market. Because in addition to Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, such as German luxury brands can have success in the Japanese market, the Japanese market for other foreign brands is almost a “no-import zone”.

IHS Markit light vehicle production analyst Yoshiaki Kawano has analyzed: “Japan’s many local brands, competition is very fierce, some traditional foreign brands withdrew from the market years ago. Among them, Ford has completely faded out of the market.”

However, some experts pointed out that the Japanese market will become a “no-go area for imported cars” because Japanese car companies have an advantage in the field of traditional fuel cars, while electric cars are the shortcomings of Japanese car companies, which may provide space for Chinese companies to go to sea.

“Japanese car companies have strong competitiveness in the field of traditional fuel cars and hybrid cars, but electric cars are their shortcomings, and BYD’s strengths are electric cars. So, there is still an opportunity for BYD to enter the Japanese market.” Zhang Xiang, an auto analyst and special expert of CABL think tank, told Finance and Economics Auto: “Especially BYD has been successful in China, with rich experience to explore the Japanese electric car market again, I think it will make a difference.”

▲ Photo source: BYD

According to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA), in 2020, 4.599 million new cars will be sold in Japan, of which 15,000 electric cars will be sold, accounting for only 0.38%. However, according to the Japanese government’s planning goal, by 2035 at the latest, all new cars sold are to be electric, but hybrid vehicles using gasoline are not excluded.

Compared to the goals set by the Japanese government, the obvious shortcomings of Japanese car companies in the field of new energy undoubtedly gave the Chinese car companies represented by BYD an opportunity.

“Japanese society has a strong awareness of environmental protection, and the Japanese government has always attached great importance to environmental protection and sustainable development. The market environment for promoting new energy vehicles in Japan is good and has great potential for development.” When talking about the strategic plan to enter Japan, BYD told Finance & Commerce that “In new energy passenger cars, BYD has more than 20 years of technology and experience accumulation, mastering core technologies such as batteries, motors, electric control and vehicle-grade chips. In addition, BYD has served more than 2.1 million owners, and these experiences will help BYD better serve the Japanese market.”

In the first half of this year, BYD sold more than 640,000 new energy vehicles, surpassing Tesla’s 560,000 units and picking up the new energy vehicle sales crown at the halfway point of the year.


Carbon Neutral Trend

China’s auto exports have an opportunity

Compared to BYD’s booming performance, Japanese automakers are not doing as well in the field of electrification.

This year, two leading Japanese automakers, including Toyota, have launched new pure electric vehicles in the Chinese market one after another. Among them, the Toyota bZ4X, which was originally planned to be launched in China in June, was “urgently canceled”. At the same time, Toyota announced a recall of the bZ4X in several overseas markets because the wheel bolts that mount the tires could come loose, causing the tires to be at risk of falling off.

As one of the world’s most influential automotive giants, Toyota’s setback in the field of electric vehicles is quite surprising to the outside world. Especially since Toyota had a long-standing relationship with BYD before that.

In 2019, Toyota began to reach cooperation with BYD, the two sides began to publicly explore the development of electric vehicles and power batteries. in March 2020, Toyota and BYD and the establishment of a joint venture BYD Toyota Electric Vehicle Technology Co.

At that time, from Toyota and as the chairman of the joint venture company Kishi Hong Shang has said: “After the establishment of the joint venture company, Toyota and BYD mastering their respective technical strengths of engineers will be together to learn from each other, and jointly cut car building skills, so as to develop a pure electric car with excellent performance loved by Chinese consumers.” However, from the current situation, as the representative of Japanese cars, Toyota’s electrification transition is not smooth.

But while various developed markets are releasing their fuel car demonetization schedules one after another, the global auto industry is on the eve of an industry reshuffle.

“Carbon neutrality has become a major trend, which is an opportunity for China’s new energy vehicles to go global.” Zhao Fuquan has told Caijing Auto that at present, foreign countries are still mainly chasing electric vehicles, and the country has developed to the stage of intelligent electric vehicles, and China’s electric vehicles have advantages in quality, performance as well as scale effect in foreign countries.

In fact, China is both the world’s largest car consumer for many years, and now is about to become the largest car exporter, domestic demand and export two prosperous, which is not rare in the international – car exporting countries generally have to meet two conditions: one is its own industrial structure is perfect, strong production capacity, the other is the home market can not be too large, so that the country’s production capacity can not be overflowing. So that their own production capacity can not spill over. That’s why the big auto-producing countries Japan, Germany, the United States, China, South Korea, the perennial top exporters are Japan and Germany, which have relatively limited domestic markets.

At present, the overseas auto market demand is accelerating to pick up, and China’s auto industry chain is relatively complete, with stable production capacity, which can provide quality auto products to overseas markets in time to effectively make up for the supply gap in overseas markets. In particular, the explosive growth of new energy vehicle exports has become a new driving force.

At present, China’s auto export growth momentum is extremely strong, car companies are deeply concerned about the time to wait, lest miss the opportunity. 2021 China’s auto exports for the first time exceeded 2 million units. Among them, the export of new energy vehicles more than tripled year-on-year, reaching 310,000 units.

In the first half of this year, China exported 1.128 million vehicles, up 47.1 percent year on year. Among them, the export of new energy vehicles is still the highlight, the first half of new energy vehicle exports more than 200,000 units, an increase of 1.3 times year-on-year, accounting for 16.6% of the total number of automotive exports, more importantly, some enterprises of new energy vehicle market has successfully entered Europe and other developed economies and markets.

In the car sales service platform “car fans” founder Sun Shaojun, Chinese cars can enter the meaning of developed economies is not only the sales volume so simple, he said to the financial car: “independent brand electric car if you can enter the developed markets such as Japan, to prove their product power If we can break into developed markets like Japan and prove our product power and safety, then there may be less resistance when we enter other markets in the future. Take the ASEAN market as an example, the ASEAN market can be said to be the backyard of Japanese car companies, when the independent brand electric vehicles have been able to enter the Japanese market, then the future entry into the ASEAN market may also be more smooth.”


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Threza Gabriel
Threza Gabriel
TechGoing is a global tech media to brings you the latest technology stories, including smartphones, electric vehicles, smart home devices, gaming, wearable gadgets, and all tech trending.

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