Here's something that we thought we would never see - BYD, the manufacturer of Chinese electric vehicles, has announced that it will sell their battery electric vehicle (BEV) in Japan early next year.
They said they will launch the electric SUV, ATTO 3, in Japan from 31 January 2023 for a price of ¥4.4 million, which is about RM144k.
The Atto 3 was recently launched in Malaysia from RM149k
While Chinese cars are becoming increasingly popular around South East Asia, there are only a few of them in Japan, limited to cheap utilitarian vehicles like vans from Geely.
BYD's move can be a masterstroke if received well in Japan, as they are probably trying to capitalise on the slow development of EVs from Japanese automakers.
There are challenges for BYD to make it big in Japan as most Japanese still prefer hybrid vehicles, but there is a growing demand for BEVs, especially when manufacturers like BYD and Volkswagen are starting to offer them in the land of the rising sun.
Japanese Times reported that BYD’s Japan division is planning to set up tentative retailers starting late January in 22 cities but is eager to cover all 47 prefectures, said Atsuki Tofukuji, BYD Auto Japan chief executive.
“We hope that we can make our presence felt little by little as we work toward carbon neutrality and as our customers demand a variety of choices,” he said.
Currently there are only two Japanese automakers that sell electric vehicles, with Nissan selling their Leaf from ¥3.7 million, while Toyota are selling their bZ4X as a lease only, for ¥106,700 a month for the first four years in a 10-year contract.
UMW Toyota has recently confirmed that they will be introducing the bZ4X in Malaysia in 2023
According to Japanese Times, Toyota are already considering starting all over again with their EV plan to make their car more competitive in a market which they underestimated.