Audi and SAIC alliance is a big step towards EV dominance

Max McDee, 21 July 2023

As we step into an era where the line "Out with the old, in with the new" gains an entirely different meaning, it seems that the big wigs of the automotive industry have realized that survival depends not on 'car-eat-car' competition but collaborations to fuel innovations. SAIC Motor Corp, China's state-owned automaker, has confirmed its partnership with Audi, Volkswagen's premium car brand. Their goal? To bank on the revolution in the Chinese EV market. And it's not about catching a small wave; we're talking about a veritable tsunami of change in China's auto industry.

Now, you might wonder, what's the big deal about another partnership in the automotive industry? Well, here's where it gets interesting. It's not just a cozy alliance; it's about Audi looking to purchase SAIC's EV platform, previously owned by IM Motors. Seems like Audi isn't keen on building from scratch when there's a perfectly good platform to grab. Smart move or desperate gamble, you decide.

Audi's future is quite interesting Audi's future is quite interesting

IM Motors isn't some back-alley operation, either. Founded in 2020 by SAIC, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech, and Alibaba, it has SAIC holding the lion's share. However, there's a bit of suspense in this tale - it's not clear whether Audi will use SAIC's platform or pick one from its sub-brands like IM Motors. We'll have to wait for the next episode in this electric saga.

You might think, isn't Audi already working on its platform with Porsche? Yes, indeed they are, on the Performance Platform Electric (PPE). But, there are a few hurdles. The anticipated Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) from the Volkswagen Group has been repeatedly delayed. In the land of electric dreams, it seems that not all cables lead to a socket.

Audi and SAIC alliance is a big step towards EV dominance

Audi has had a rude awakening with falling sales and the existing lineup failing to appease the Chinese market's appetite. It's not enough to provide a car; you must provide a specific solution for the specific market. Hence, the decision to speed up the development of new EV models to meet the swelling demand in China. Markus Duesmann, Audi's soon-to-be-replaced CEO, confessed to the misstep. Here's hoping his successor, Gernot Döllner, can steer Audi out of this dilemma.

While some might call this Audi's Hail Mary pass, Deutsche Bank prefers the term 'big bang.' Its research team believes this deal could be Volkswagen's ticket to break free from the mundane and step into a world of fresh opportunities.

Rising Auto is one of many SAIC brands Rising Auto is one of many SAIC brands

The new collaboration also reflects a larger global trend - a huge and fast pivot towards EVs. As SAIC rightly stated, the Chinese auto market is in the midst of its most significant transformation yet. These are not just fancy words. The platform developed by SAIC, and used by IM Motors, supports an 800-volt electric architecture and is suitable for various vehicle models.

The marriage between Audi and SAIC is a strong strategic move in the high-stakes game of electric vehicles. The partnership may spill out of China as well; if the VW in-house development takes longer, Audi may be the first to test the new platform and then simply pass it on to its siblings - Skoda, Porsche, VW, and Cupra to start with. It is a smart move but one that shows how dire the situation really is behind the closed doors of VW Group.



Reader comments

  • Anonymous

Good for VW, bad for SAIC



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