Audi and SAIC to team up on future electric cars in China

  • Chinese car manufacturer SAIC confirmed that it will partner with Audi on future EV development.
  • The news comes as Audi and the wider Volkswagen group have had to delay future electric car models.
  • Audi will make use of one of SAIC’s own EV platforms for some of its future Chinese market offerings.

Audi seeks Chinese market share

SAIC has confirmed that it is in talks with Audi to share a future electric car platform to be sold in China. This agreement would be crucial for the German manufacturer, who, along with the wider Volkswagen group, have been missing out on Chinese EV sales thanks to delays associated with its own next generation EV drivetrain.

This comes after Audi CEO Markus Duesmann said the company needed to “speed up development of new models to meet a surge in demand for electric vehicles, especially in China”, in an interview with Reuters last month.

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It’s not the first time that Chinese and European car manufacturers have partnered up. Audi’s owner Volkswagen Group already has a contract with SAIC for them to produce internal combustion engine (ICE) cars locally under VW brands.

On the electric car side, it’s also reported that the upcoming electric Mini will be built under a venture between BMW and Great Wall Motor – the manufacturer behind the GWM Ora Cat.

EV sales in China

This could be just the partnership Audi needs to get back on track with sales in China. Home brands such as BYD dominate, with it shifting over 264,000 full EVs in the first quarter of the year. However, some foreign manufacturers aren’t doing too badly either. Tesla sold over 137,000 EVs in China for the first quarter of 2023, compared to just over 3,000 Audi electric cars.

At this point, it’s unclear to what extent parts SAIC and Audi will share parts. The only details from the two companies so far are that they “agreed that the Chinese auto market is undergoing unprecedented transformation”, and will “speed up the development of electric vehicles through cooperation”.

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