Unseen growth strategies of Japanese battery manufacturers.
It is a well-known fact that investment for a major shift from internal combustion engine vehicles to BEVs has been very active recently, mainly among Chinese, European, US and Korean OEMs. Large investments are being made in the USA, Europe, China and South Korea for the development of BEV production systems and for battery production. The mainstream trend is to invest in collaboration with specialised manufacturers for batteries, but Japanese battery manufacturers are rarely seen among them.
Battery prices need to be lowered in order to achieve significant diffusion. It is said that the price needs to fall below USD 100 per kWh as a guide for full-scale diffusion, but it is difficult to get the price down to that level. However, major Chinese and Korean players such as CATL, BYD and LG are continuing their efforts to reduce costs through LFP, cell-to-pack and large-scale mass production, as well as adopting a pricing strategy that turns a blind eye to profitability in order to secure market share. On the other hand, Japanese battery manufacturers’ immediate strategies include: 1) protecting their existing mainstay business for HEVs and PHEVs; 2) placing priority on existing mainstay customers such as Japanese OEMs and Tesla; and 3) focusing on high value-added products such as high capacity, high efficiency and compact size, and keeping away from price competition. The company’s strategy is to focus on high value-added products such as high-capacity, high-efficiency and compact products and to distance itself from price competition. Japanese battery manufacturers were aiming to make up for this by focusing on all-solid-state batteries first, but before that market could flourish, a huge market for existing liquid LiBs was created, and Chinese and Korean battery manufacturers now hold a large share of the market. Under these circumstances, Japanese battery manufacturers have no survival strategy in sight.