YOKOHAMA, Sept 1 (Reuters) - China's BYD on Friday said it will start selling its second electric vehicle model in Japan this month, as it seeks to secure a foothold in a market that has given rise to some of the world's best-selling auto brands.
The automaker in a statement said it will take orders for its Dolphin car from Sept. 20, in what could become a worry for Japanese rivals which are struggling in China against BYD and other domestic manufacturers amid a rapid shift to EVs.
BYD, which stands for Build Your Dreams, will also announce Dolphin pricing on that date. The model starts from 116,800 yuan ($16,092.14) in China.
The Shenzhen-based automaker only plans to sell battery-powered cars in Japan, not vehicles with other powertrain technology in which it is a big player in China's market, such as plug-in hybrids.
It aims to offer a regular and a long-range version of the Dolphin compatible with Japan's CHAdeMO charging standard. It then plans to introduce its Seal model around year-end or early next year.
BYD has not set a sales target for Japan. A spokesperson declined to disclose how many vehicles it needed to sell in Japan each year to be profitable.
Since opening its first Japanese dealership in Yokohama in February, BYD has sold about 700 ATTO 3 electric sports utility vehicles, which sells for 4.4 million yen ($30,205.26).
The automaker seeks to open over 100 dealerships by the end of 2025. This year, its Japan unit signed a car dealership contract with Japanese trading house Sojitz.
($1 = 7.2582 Chinese yuan renminbi)
($1 = 145.6700 yen)
Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Christopher Cushing