The Atto 3 costs about $33,800 in Japan, cheaper than and Nissan EVs, and deliveries are expected to start there around March.

(Image credit: BYD)

BYD (OTCMKTS: BYDDY) has officially started selling electric vehicles (EVs) in Japan, after announcing its entry into the market at the end of July last year.

The largest Chinese maker of new energy vehicles (NEVs) began selling EVs in Japan on January 31, with the first model being the BYD Atto 3, according to a Nikkei report yesterday.

The model is priced at 4.4 million yen ($33,800) in Japan, cheaper than Tesla and Nissan EVs, and deliveries are expected to start there around March, according to the report.

The Atto 3, known in China as the BYD Yuan Plus, is the NEV maker's first model built for the global market and is already available in several markets, including Europe, Australia and Singapore.

BYD's first Japanese sales location, in the large port city of Yokohama south of Tokyo, is expected to open on Thursday, Nikkei quoted Atsuki Tofukuji, president of BYD Auto Japan, as saying.

It is the first of more than 20 showrooms BYD plans to set up in Japan this year, where the company hopes to have more than 100 dealers by the end of 2025.

On July 21, 2022, BYD announced its official entry into Japan's passenger car market with the unveiling of three battery electric vehicles (BEVs), the BYD Seal, Dolphin and Atto 3.

BYD said at the time that the Atto 3 was expected to launch in Japan in January 2023, the Dolphin in mid-2023 and the Seal in the second half of 2023.

BYD will work with its dealers and partners in Japan to gradually establish a comprehensive sales and service system and open a new chapter in the internationalization of passenger cars, the company said at the time.

BYD will sell cars in Japan through a dealer network rather than directly operated stores, because the former is the way Japanese consumers are most familiar with, general manager of BYD Asia-Pacific auto sales division Liu Xueliang, said in an interview with Kyodo News in August 2022.

The Atto 3, known in China as the Yuan Plus, went on sale on February 19, 2022, the first SUV on BYD's all-electric platform, e-platform 3.0, and its first model built for the global market.

It went on sale in China at the same time as it opened for pre-sale in Australia under the name Atto 3. The Atto name is inspired by the Attosecond, the smallest unit of time scale in physics.

BYD's showroom in Yokohama is currently displaying only the Atto 3, but two other models will be on display later this year. Visitors can test drive the Atto 3, Nikkei reported, adding that the store has already received a "fair amount" of reservations.

BYD sold 235,197 NEVs in December, a new all-time high and the fourth consecutive month of more than 200,000 units, according to figures released last month.

In December, BYD sold 11,320 NEVs in overseas markets, down 8.1 percent from 12,318 units in November.

For the full year of 2022, BYD's cumulative NEV sales were 1,863,494 units, up 208.64 percent from 603,783 units in the same period last year.