TOKYO, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- China's leading electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer BYD is seeking win-win opportunities in Japan's auto market as the company is set to start selling its first battery EV in the country.
The auto giant will roll out an electric sports utility vehicle "ATTO 3" in Japan starting Jan. 31. It is also planning to introduce two more models later in the year and to have more than 100 dealerships in Japan by the end of 2025.
"What BYD is trying to do in Japan is to enable a win-win outcome for BYD's business development and the Japanese EV industry," said Liu Xueliang, general manager of BYD Asia-Pacific Auto Sales Division and president of BYD Japan, in a recent interview with Xinhua.
BYD first entered the Japanese market in 1999 with battery businesses. It then introduced electric buses in 2015, which now accounted for 70 percent of Japan's electric bus market.
"More than 20 years of engagement in the Japanese market has earned BYD a large number of customers, suppliers, partners and lots of goodwill," noted Liu.
Despite boasting a mature auto market, Japan has lagged behind its global peers in the shift towards EVs as gasoline-electric hybrid models remained more popular.
Considering Japan's significantly low EV penetration rate, the change in auto consumption structure will bring opportunities for the pure EV market, Liu said, expecting the Japanese EV market to gather steam in the coming years.
The country has aimed for all vehicles sold to be at least part-electric by 2035, along with increasing subsidies for EV purchases and reduced restrictions on the installation of charging facilities.
Citing a BYD survey that showed 30 percent of Japanese consumers are currently willing to buy EVs, Liu pointed out that a major hindrance for Japan's market is a lack of available models to consumers.
Last year, Japanese automakers launched two light EVs, which reported robust sales, showing strong EV demand in the country, according to Liu.
With a cruising distance of 485 km, BYD's ATTO 3 model will be sold at 4.4 million Japanese yen (about 34,320 U.S. dollars).
Regarding the sales expectation for the vehicle, Liu said no specific target has been set. "Currently, it is more important to foster customer trust in BYD than setting numeric targets," Liu said.
Earlier data showed BYD sold nearly 1.87 million cars in 2022, surging 152.5 percent year on year.