German automaker Audi is reportedly in talks to buy an electric vehicle platform from SAIC Motor, a Chinese state-owned automaker, in an unprecedented attempt to increase its market share. This information was revealed by two people with knowledge of the situation, showing the competition for electric vehicles (EVs) that Western and legacy brands are facing in the largest auto market in the world as sales of Audi’s EVs fall behind those of Tesla and its domestic rival Nio.
According to sources who requested confidentiality owing to the sensitivity of the situation, SAIC’s EV unit, IM Motors, and its EV platform are targets for purchase by Audi, the premium vehicle brand of Volkswagen AG.
The platform may be purchased by Audi, according to Chinese media outlet Mingjing Pro. Automobilwoche previously stated, without naming the manufacturers, that Audi was in talks with a number of them about buying an EV platform.
Leading automakers, like Toyota, are starting to develop their own EV platforms in an effort to imitate Tesla and other Chinese EV producers. Costs will be decreased, performance will be improved, and profit margins will be safeguarded.
Audi has never before bought a platform from another manufacturer and mainly employs Volkswagen’s MEB platform, which is specifically designed for electric vehicles, for its models in China. However, the business has been collaborating with Porsche on a new EV platform at the same time. Markus Duesmann, the CEO of Audi who will leave his role in September, also noted the importance of accelerating model development to keep up with the growing demand for electric vehicles, particularly in China. Duesmann also admitted that the lack of automobiles designed with Chinese tastes in mind contributed to Audi’s poor sales record.
The Q4 e-tron and Q5 e-tron, two electric vehicle models currently offered by Audi, were built in China on Volkswagen’s MEB chassis. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported that in the first quarter, Tesla sold 137,429 cars, BMW sold 21,646 EVs, and Audi sold a little over 3,000 EVs.
Together, Audi and Porsche have been researching the “Premium Platform Electric” (PPE), a new EV platform. The Changchun facility in northeastern China, which is being built by Audi, will begin using this platform in automobiles in late 2024. The company will create PPE platform modifications specifically designed for the Chinese market, according to the Audi spokeswoman.