Hyundai to launch 2 EV models in Japan next year

Hyundai Motor Co. plans to launch two electric vehicle models in Japan by early next year, as it seeks to increase sales in the Japanese market, according to company officials Tuesday.

Hyundai currently sells the Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle and the Ioniq 5 midsize crossover there through an online-only sales platform, without dealerships, in Japan.

Hyundai Motor plans to add the Kona Electric this year and the high-performance Ioniq 5 N model early next year to its Japanese lineup.

In May last year, Hyundai reentered the Japanese market 12 years after leaving Japan due to poor sales, as rising demand for all-electric vehicles offers new opportunities in the market dominated by Toyota Motor Corp.

Hyundai advanced into Japan in 2001 but pulled out of the neighboring market in 2009 after selling a mere 15,000 gasoline cars.

In its second foray, Hyundai has taken a different approach by offering Japanese customers places to experience its cars and receive repair services for Hyundai cars in major cities, such as Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Yokohama and Kyoto since last year.

In other efforts to boost sales, Hyundai signed an initial pact in June with Japanese culture content firm Culture Convenience Club (CCC) for partnerships in car-sharing mobility services, data-based marketing and an EV experience platform in Japan.

In the car-sharing services, Hyundai provides the all-electric IONIQ 5 equipped with Hyundai Motor Group’s dedicated EV platform named E-GMP and its charging facility at the large-scale bookstore Daikanyama T-Site Tsutaya, operated by CCC.

Hyundai also plans to promote its battery electric vehicles through joint marketing projects with CCC and to give Japanese consumers opportunities to experience its zero-emission cars through the EV experience program.

Hyundai’s vehicle sales appear to be improving since its reentry, though not significantly. Its sales rose 22 percent to 263 units in the January-August period from 216 units a year earlier.

Sales figures for the January-April period last year were export-based ones.

From January to August, the maker of Sonata sedans and the Santa Fe SUVs sold a total of 2,765,554 autos in global markets, up 8.6 percent from 2,546,496 a year earlier.

Source: Yonhap News Agency