Audi HQ in Ingolstadt Germany
Penny For Poor? Audi Goes Begging To China For EV Platform
Industry News

In a surprising turn of events, Audi executives are reportedly considering seeking assistance from Chinese manufacturers for electric platforms. This development suggests a significant shift in strategy and raises questions about Volkswagen’s commitment to embracing electric vehicles. Some observers speculate that Volkswagen’s ID range of electric cars may have been more of a superficial gesture than a genuine commitment. It is possible that Volkswagen is struggling to let go of its long-standing legacy in combustion engine technology.

Audi’s potential decision to acquire electric platforms from a Chinese competitor also signifies a lack of confidence in Volkswagen’s electric vehicle strategy. China has made substantial investments in developing its electric vehicle infrastructure, research and development capabilities, and manufacturing capacity.

In contrast, European car manufacturers have been comparatively slow to respond, seemingly unaware of the potential of the electric vehicle industry to disrupt the dominance of fossil fuel-powered cars. While it may take years for the electric vehicle market to fully mature, the Chinese EV industry is already making strides towards the future, while Europe appears to be lagging behind.

According to various industry reports, Audi has approached SAIC and several other Chinses EV firms, to acquire an electric vehicle platform. Talks are said to be at an advanced stage. In China Audi’s EV sales have declined sharply, the company sold 3,000 EVs in the first quarter of 2023. By comparison, Tesla sold over 137,000. Even BMW did better selling 21,000 EVs in the same period.

Volkswagen’s electric vehicle strategy is in a mess. The company has encountered various issues, including software failures and delays in production, which have had a direct impact on Audi’s electric vehicle plans. As a result, Audi has been compelled to temporarily suspend its EV initiatives while Volkswagen works on resolving its supply chain issues.

Audi, part of the Volkswagen empire, relies on VW platforms to form a basis for its entire product strategy, if VW faces delays, Audi faces more delays. Indeed, Audi has never before purchased a platform from another company outside of Volkswagen’s sphere of influence. Audi currently sells the Chinese-built Q4 and Q5 e-Tron in China which is based on VW’s MEB platform.

The decision by Audi to explore off-the-shelf platforms reflects a lack of confidence in Volkswagen’s capabilities. The move can be seen as a sign of desperation, as Audi seeks alternative solutions rather than relying on Volkswagen’s resources. This situation aligns with the proverbial saying that “a penny saved is a penny earned,” indicating that Audi is trying to find cost-effective alternatives to achieve its EV goals.

Audi HQ in Ingolstadt Germany
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