On July 26, Volkswagen and Xiaopeng announced that the two sides signed a framework agreement on strategic technical cooperation and minority equity investment, and reached a long-term strategic partnership.
Volkswagen said that in the early stages of the partnership, the two sides plan to jointly develop two Volkswagen-branded electric models for the Chinese medium-sized car market, which will complement the product portfolio based on the MEB platform and plan to enter the market in 2026. Xiaopeng Automobile gives more details. The two pure electric models in cooperation with Volkswagen will be based on the joint development of Xiaopeng G9's electric vehicle platform and software. Xiaopeng Automobile will contribute the whole vehicle platform as well as intelligent cockpit and intelligent driving system. Volkswagen offers the world's leading engineering and supply chain capabilities, both of which hang the Volkswagen logo.
In addition, as part of the strategic cooperation, Volkswagen will increase Xiaopeng's capital by about $700m (about 5 billion yuan), acquire about 4.99% of Xiaopeng's shares at $15 per ADS (American depositary shares, each ADS represents two Class A common shares), and have a seat on Xiaopeng's board of directors as an observer. After the completion of the deal, Volkswagen will become Xiaopeng's third largest shareholder, second only to he Xiaopeng and Alibaba Group holding Co., Ltd.
He Xiaopeng, chairman and CEO of Xiaopeng Automobile, said in a post on Weibo that he Xiaopeng is looking forward to the cooperation of the big and the small to bring the best technology, the best products and the best brands to the world. "in the past few months, I have had a high degree of mutual trust with Chairman he Xiaopeng and the Xiaopeng automobile team," said Baird, chairman and CEO of Volkswagen Group (China). We are convinced that Volkswagen and Xiaopeng share the same values and vision for mobile travel in the future.
Stimulated by the news, Xiaopeng's US stock rose 26.69%, reaching an one-year high, with a current market capitalization of 16.85 billion yuan.
This may be the highlight moment since Xiaopeng Motor was founded. In the first half of the year, Xiaopeng delivered a total of 41435 new cars, down 39.93% from the same period last year, and only achieved the full-year sales target of 20.7%. In this context, Volkswagen, as the second largest car company in the world, can choose Xiaopeng among many new forces. On the one hand, it fully recognizes Xiaopeng's ability in intelligent cockpit and intelligent driving system. On the other hand, the challenge that Volkswagen faces in electrification can not be ignored.
According to data released by Volkswagen Group, 4.3722 million new cars were delivered worldwide in the first half of 2023, an increase of 12.8% over the same period last year, of which a total of 1.4519 million new cars were delivered in mainland China and Hong Kong, down 1.2% from the same period last year. Volkswagen is the only market in the world that has experienced a decline. In terms of specific brands, with the exception of Porsche, sales of Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda brands in China all declined.
In the most competitive Chinese market, Volkswagen's performance of all-electric vehicles has also begun to reverse the trend, with Volkswagen Group's delivery of all-electric vehicles falling 2 per cent to 62400 in the first half compared with the same period a year earlier. Although Volkswagen has a relatively positive development trend in China's pure electric market, Volkswagen must enhance its competitiveness in China's pure electric vehicle market in order to further increase its scale in the global electric vehicle market.
The Tramway report commented that the reason why Volkswagen chose to cooperate with Xiaopeng is also a high recognition of Xiaopeng's core technical competence. Compared with Ulai and ideal, Xiaopeng is more focused on the technology-dominated market. Since its inception, it has focused on the development and mass production of fully self-driving cars, and it has always been regarded as the "ceiling" of high-level auxiliary driving capabilities of Chinese car companies. On July 6th, Xiaopeng launched an OTA upgrade with version 4.3.0 for its G9 and P7i models. After this update, a new generation of high-speed NGP has been launched, and officials say it is "close to the L4 experience". It provides functions such as automatic avoidance of construction scenarios, automatic import of congestion scenarios, and intelligent response to side car congestion, which can achieve "zero takeover intention" throughout the process.
As more and more automakers cut prices in the Chinese market, Volkswagen's dominant position in the era of internal combustion engines is threatened, and Volkswagen has invested tens of billions of yuan in electrification. However, limited by the ability of smart cockpit and high-end smart driving, Volkswagen electric vehicle market performance is far below expectations, and cooperation with Xiaopeng Automobile can make up for Volkswagen's shortcomings. Of course, the first joint model of Volkswagen and Xiaopeng will not be available until 2026, and the current environment of the Chinese market may have undergone earth-shaking changes, and it will take time to see whether it can still achieve good results in the market.
Toyota bZ3, which is the first model jointly developed by Toyota and BYD, in which Toyota provides complete vehicle design and BYD provides three electric technology.
In the era of internal combustion engines, it is very difficult for Chinese local car companies to gain recognition from international car companies, and the technology they have accumulated in engines, gearboxes and so on is enough for us to learn for decades. In the era of electrification, domestic electric cars began to lead the entire automobile industry, and joint venture brands collapsed rapidly, making international car companies have to compromise and begin to cooperate with domestic brands or buy technology, which may be their only way out.
Fortune knocks once at least at every man's gate! We can expect more traditional car companies to cooperate with Chinese new energy brands in the future.
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