Despite being in constant growth on a global level and registering one of the best results among international carmakers in a difficult recession year like this one, Hyundai has announced on December 1 that all of its Japanese car dealers will cease marketing in the aforementioned country.
The news come from company spokesman Oles Gadacz, via a report from AutoNews.com. With the South Korean auto firm doing so well in other geographic areas and in these uncertain economic times, when other car manufacturers struggle to survive, this decision may appear rather shocking, but the fact is Hyundai returned discouraging sales results in Japan since it entered the market 8 years ago.
AutoNews.com reports the South Korean automaker managed to sell only 15,095 passenger vehicles in Japan since 2001, while Volkswagen AG on the other hand, which is Japan’s best selling import brand, sold 61,996 units in 2008 alone.
“If you're not a Gucci or a BMW, there are very few who prosper there,” Gadacz said. “Mass-market players have it very tough.”
The decision to withdraw from the Japanese passenger car market was certainly unexpected, as Hyundai registered in October a 7.2 percent increase in global sales with a 4 percent increase in the U.S. alone.
Complementing the declining Japanese car market was the poor public image South Korean cars have in the Land of the Rising Sun. However, Hyundai announced it will keep its commercial vehicle business active, after releasing in 2006 a new line of Universe buses here, which sold in just 43 units until now.