Hyundai pulls out of Japan after eight years

Hyundai Motor Co. has decided to pull out of Japan despite its global growth. Hyundai has been in Japan for eight years, but business this year has sunk to a point where the company can no longer justify a Japanese presence, reports Automotive News.

Hyundai will officially announce the news to its 46 Japanese dealers tomorrow according to spokesman Oles Gadacz. Gadacz mentioned the fact that mass-market companies generally do not perform well in Japan, save for the most high-end products.

Since entering the Japanese market in 2001, Hyundai has sold 15,095 vehicles. Volkswagen AG, the biggest selling importer in Japan, sold 61,996 vehicles in 2008 alone. This performance in Japan comes in spite of a 7.2 percent increase in Hyundai’s global sales through October, and a 4 percent increase in U.S. sales.

Major factors in Hyundai’s performance in the Japanese market are the naturally sluggish Japanese auto market, and the fact that Korean products face a very poor public perception there. Hyundai will remain in Japan however with its commercial-vehicle business.

– By: Stephen Calogera