Global Hydrogen Vehicle Sales See Downturn as South Korea Cedes Market Lead to China

By February 23, 2024 2   min read  (340 words)

February 23, 2024 |

Hyundai Motor’s Nexo Experiences Sales Dip, While China’s Market Share Surges

The global market for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) experienced a significant downturn last year, with a 30% contraction from the previous year’s figures. This shift has seen South Korea, previously a leader in FCEV adoption, cede its market dominance to China.

In 2023, the worldwide registration of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles fell to 14,451 units, marking a substantial 30.2% decrease from 2022, as reported by energy market research firm SNE Research. Hyundai Motor Company, despite retaining its position as the top single company in the global FCEV market, suffered a steep decline in sales. The company’s market share plummeted from 54.8% in 2022 to 34.7% in 2023, driven by a 42% sales drop of its flagship hydrogen car, the Nexo, which sold 4,709 units compared to 11,179 units the previous year.

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Toyota, on the other hand, saw an increase in sales of 3.9% from the previous year, bolstered by the performance of the Mirai, securing a 26.6% market share. Chinese manufacturers made significant gains, with their market share leaping from 25.3% to 37.1% in just one year, overtaking Hyundai Motor Company.

By nation, China emerged as the largest market for hydrogen cars, with 5,600 units sold and a commanding 38.8% market share. South Korea, affected by Nexo’s underwhelming sales, sold 4,631 units, accounting for 32.0% of the global market. This marked a significant downturn from the 49.9% market share in 2022, relegating South Korea to second place.

In the third-largest FCEV market, the United States, sales increased by 10.5% to 2,992 units, or 20.7% market share, driven by rising demand for the Mirai.

SNE Research attributes the global market’s contraction to the sharp sales decline in South Korea, once the market share leader. Contributing factors include limited vehicle options for domestic consumers, escalating hydrogen refueling costs, concerns over hydrogen safety incidents, and inadequate hydrogen refueling infrastructure. Meanwhile, China’s rapid market share increase is credited to the government’s active promotion of hydrogen vehicles and infrastructure development, particularly within the commercial vehicle sector.

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