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German automaker Audi is at an advanced stage of talks to buy an electric vehicle (EV) platform from SAIC Motor, the largest Chinese auto group, for Audi vehicles on the Chinese market, sources with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters on Wednesday.
This weekend, the German publication Automobilwoche reported that Audi, the premium car brand of VW, is on the lookout for platform partners for faster EV development in China.
Audi, which is lagging behind Tesla and Chinese competitors in the Chinese EV market, the world’s largest, is looking for external help to shorten the development of its EV models and is holding talks with competitors in China, Automobilwoche reported.
According to Reuters’ sources, Audi is negotiating a potential acquisition of the EV platform of SAIC Motor’s EV unit, IM Motors. The EV unit, recently created by state-owned SAIC and counting e-commerce giant Alibaba Group as an investor, launched last year L7, a luxury EV sedan marketed as a direct competitor of Tesla.
Audi’s current offering of EV models in China consists of two models, Q4 e-tron and Q5 e-tron. Both are developed on Volkswagen’s MEB platform in China.
If it acquires an EV platform, it would be a first for Audi to buy a platform from another car manufacturer. Apart from using Volkswagen’s platform for the Chinese vehicles, Audi has been working with Porsche to develop a new EV platform, Premium Platform Electric (PPE).
German carmakers, including Audi, have been struggling with sales in China, the world’s largest and fastest-growing EV market.
The slump in exports of Germany’s auto industry to China in the first quarter of 2023 could be the beginning of a new long-term trend of “strong disruption” in German-Chinese trade as China’s electric vehicle boom accelerates, a German economic research institute said last month.
China has numerous local and foreign EV makers competing in the world’s largest EV market. China, Europe, and the United States continue to dominate EV sales, with China the frontrunner once again, accounting for around 60% of global electric car sales, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report in April.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.