On the evening of July 26, Volkswagen Group issued a press release that shocked the auto circle, and Volkswagen announced that it would buy a stake in Xiaopeng Motor for $700 million, which immediately sparked heated discussion in the industry. At the same time, Volkswagen also announced another big news-the signing of a strategic memorandum between its Audi brand and SAIC. Last night, SAIC officially announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Audi, and the two sides will combine their respective advantages to speed up the development of SAIC Audi's new electric models to meet the needs of Chinese users for high-end electric smart cars.
Judging from the contents of the press releases issued by both sides, Audi and SAIC will further deepen existing cooperation after signing a strategic memorandum. The two sides may cooperate based on the pure electric exclusive serialization platform "SAIC Nebula", which can derive different levels of pure electric exclusive architecture, covering compact cars, medium-sized cars, luxury cars and sedans, sports cars, SUV, MPV and other multi-level and multi-category vehicle products in the global market. At present, the models developed based on the nebula platform include MG MULAN electric car, Zhiji LS7 and so on.
As early as the beginning of this month, Audi's plan to work with Chinese car companies to develop a new electric vehicle platform attracted a lot of attention in the industry, including Audi and SAIC at that time. With the signing of the MOU between Audi and SAIC, it also means that Audi and SAIC will jointly develop electric vehicles. It is understood that as the first step of the planning, Audi will enter the market segment that has not been covered in China by launching new electric models, and the jointly developed electric models will be equipped with state-of-the-art software and hardware to provide Chinese users with an intuitive and interconnected digital experience. In addition, the two sides envision the joint development of a new localization platform for the next generation of intelligent networked vehicles (ICV) in the future.
In fact, whether it is Volkswagen's stake in Xiaopeng or Audi's deep cooperation with SAIC, the industry believes that the effect of the electric transformation of Volkswagen Group and its Audi brand in recent years is not significant. at present, the pattern of the electric car market is being reshaped, and both Volkswagen and Audi urgently need to accelerate the process of electrified transformation.
China is already Audi's largest single market in the world, but its performance in China is not good. Earlier, Oliver Blume, chief executive of Volkswagen Group, publicly admitted that the Audi brand lagged behind its competitors, particularly in electric cars, and promised to revive Audi's highlight moment in the future. "the Audi brand has great potential, but it hasn't been shown in recent years," Oliver Blume said. We did not defend its lead over its main competitors and we had to postpone the planning of exciting electric cars because of software problems. And specifically mentioned the Chinese market: "the group's business is highly dependent on China, but at present the pure electric vehicle product line is not competitive in the Chinese market." As a reference, the data show that global sales of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi pure electric vehicles in 2022 were 215000, 149000 and 118200 respectively.
At present, fuel vehicles have reached their peak, and new energy vehicles have gradually become an important product in the layout of traditional automakers. It should be noted that, as one of the luxury brands of Volkswagen Group, Audi does not have its own electric platform, and its electric vehicles are built on four electric vehicle platforms shared by Volkswagen brands, including J1 high-performance electric platform, MEB platform, MLB evo platform and PPE platform. Among them, the J1 platform is used to build high-end pure electric sedan models, such as Porsche and Audi e-tron GT;MEB platform to build Volkswagen ID. Pure electric models are entry-level models, while the MLB evo platform is mainly used to manufacture fuel models.
According to the official website, Audi currently sells new energy vehicles in China, including Q2L e-tron, A6L e-tron, Q4 e-tron, e-tron, Q5L e-tron and so on, but the sales performance is not excellent. In the first half of this year, the cumulative sales of Q4 e-tron, Q5 e-tron, A6L plug-in hybrid, e-tron and Q2 e-tron were 8982, 2119, 1421, 229 and 98, respectively.
For Audi, 2023 is a critical year for transformation. In March, Audi China announced that from 2026, Audi's new models for the global market will be fully switched to pure electric vehicles, and the production of internal combustion engine models will be phased out by 2033. At that time, Audi's own production base around the world will be put into the production of electric vehicles. Audi can actually use the PPE platform on a large scale, and the factory will not be completed and put into mass production until the end of 2024, but at present, the market for high-end new energy vehicles is becoming more and more competitive, and the dominance is gradually tilting towards Chinese brands. Taking the sales ranking data in June this year as an example, eight of the top 10 best-selling new energy vehicles worth more than 300000 yuan in June were Chinese brands. Obviously, Audi, as a traditional luxury brand, can reduce the possibility of falling behind only by speeding up the pace of electrification transformation.
On July 27th, FAW Audi's new electric GT coupe e-tron GT officially launched, a total of one configuration model was launched, the price is 999800 yuan, the power is driven by front and rear axles, the peak power is 476hp, the WLTP has a range of 487km, and the acceleration time from 0 to 100km / h is 4.1s. Prior to this, its high-performance version RS e-tron GT has been sold at a price of 1.4688 million yuan. By comparison, the listed version is an ordinary version, which further lowers the threshold of buying a car in terms of performance and configuration, but in terms of price, the car is still aimed at the consumer market of nearly one million electric vehicles. At present, medium and large pure electric vehicles with a price of more than 800000 yuan in China include Mercedes-Benz EQE AMG, Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S. generally speaking, the competition in the car market after e-tron GT listing is not fierce, but considering the car's price of nearly one million yuan, it does not have an advantage in terms of performance-to-price ratio, and it is expected that future sales will not be too high.
At present, Audi has three joint ventures in China, including FAW-Volkswagen, SAIC Audi and Audi FAW. Audi has more leading power in Audi FAW, which will focus on the development of new energy vehicles. It is understood that Audi FAW New Energy will be officially put into production next year, the first model is based on the PPE platform A6 e-tron. According to the plan, Audi will gradually launch 20 new models by the end of 2025, including 10 electric cars, and Audi will have one pure tram in each market segment in 2027.
At present, Audi is making every effort to accelerate the electrification transformation, partnering with SAIC Xuan on the one hand and actively launching new products on the other. As for whether Audi can have another picture in China after a series of measures, it will take more time to verify.
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