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The Korea Herald
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THE INVESTOR
July 22, 2024

Market Now

Hyundai Motor to seek breakthrough in Japan with Casper Electric

  • PUBLISHED :June 23, 2024 - 15:40
  • UPDATED :June 23, 2024 - 15:40
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A teaser image of the Casper Electric (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor is hoping its newest all-electric small vehicle, the Casper Electric, will allow it to break through in the Japanese market, a near wasteland for the Korean automaker.
According to Hyundai Motor, the Casper Electric will be unveiled for the first time during press day at the Busan International Mobility Show on Thursday. This year’s auto event will last through July 7.
The Casper Electric is expected to hit the Japanese market next year after going on sale in Korea in the second half of this 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 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 percent of all new passenger car sales.

A teaser image of the Casper Electric (Hyundai Motor Group)

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, 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 percent 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 Sunday.
“The driving distance has been extended and (the Casper Electric) has a design that Japanese people like. Also, (Japanese carmakers) are currently concentrating on hybrid cars so it’s meaningful (for Hyundai Motor) to take a leading position in the EV sector in Japan as a first-mover.”
According to Hyundai Motor, the Casper Electric has a maximum driving distance of 315 kilometers per charge. The automaker believes the model can lead the popularization of EVs there, as it occupies a new segment for an EV. The rest of Casper Electric’s specifications will be disclosed at the Busan International Mobility Show later this week.

A teaser image of the Casper Electric (Hyundai Motor Group)

By Kan Hyeong-woo (hwkan@heraldcorp.com)

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