Hyundai Slashes Price of Fuel Cell Car to Compete with Toyota

Hyundai is cutting the price of its domestic-market Tucson ix hydrogen fuel cell vehicle by a staggering 43 percent.

Although the reduction applies only to South Korea, Hyundai hasn’t ruled out the possibility of making cuts to the Tucson in Europe and stateside.

SEE ALSO: Hyundai Tucson FCV Nabs Wards 2015 ’10 Best Engines’ Recognition

Conceding “dismal sales” and to compete with its lower-priced Japanese rival, Toyota’s Mirai, Hyundai is reducing the Tucson’s price from 197 to 85 million won (approximately $179,509 to $77,189) – an effort apparently verging on self-sacrificial.

“We decided to slash the car’s price, even if we make a loss, because we can’t make further investments or expand infrastructure amid dismal sales,” said Hyundai yesterday in a statement.

Two impediments have continued to pose a problem to fuel cell cars developing more widespread appeal in South Korea: high prices and a scarcity of fueling stations.

Toyota's Mirai is due in Europe around September, and in the U.S.  later this year.

Toyota’s Mirai is due in Europe around September, and in the U.S. later this year.

The Government of South Korea has been responsive, and plans 200 hydrogen fueling stations by 2025 but, currently, the country only has one.

In early 2013, Hyundai built a mass production system for global hydrogen car sales. Despite this, Hyundai’s fuel cell vehicle sales number a paltry 200 – and this includes the U.S. and Europe.

Meanwhile, in its home market, the South Korean automaker is now hedging its bets on a steep price drop leading to an increased demand for the Tucson ix as it’s called there, and with competition on the horizon.

In December, Toyota domestically launched its Mirai fuel cell sedan with a pre-tax price of 6.7 million yen (roughly $56,934). While Toyota lagged behind Hyundai, in that it didn’t pack the same punch in terms of pure mass production capacity, it set the price much lower than the Tucson.

As for U.S. pricing, the lease-only Tucson in California costs $499 – a price to be matched by the Mirai when it is offered later this year for lease – and Toyota will confidently sell them outright for $57,400. What’s more, the Mirai is a purpose-built FCV, not a converted conventional car due for a refresh.

Hyundai has posted this sketch of an envisioned "All-New Tucson."

Hyundai has posted this sketch of an envisioned “All-New Tucson.”

Anticipating a slow roll out of its own, Toyota has set its sights on selling at least 3,000 Mirai fuel cell sedans in the U.S. by the end of 2017.

SEE ALSO: 2016 Toyota Mirai FCV First Drive – Video

Perhaps to the surprise or dismay of battery electric vehicle advocates, Japan-market sales figures revealed that more than 1,500 hydrogen fuel cell cars have been sold in about a month – more than seven times the number Hyundai sold. In response, Toyota has tripled production capacity.

To add to Hyundai’s woes, the Japanese Government also signposted its intention to build 100 hydrogen fueling stations in major cities this year.

Hyundai said it will launch its second fuel cell model by 2020.

Reuters