Each week, Just Auto’s editors select a deal that illustrates the themes driving change in our sector. The deal may not always be the largest in value, or the highest profile. But we select it because of what it tells us about where the leading companies are focusing their efforts, and why. We pick apart the deal itself, and the industry theme behind it. This new, thematic deal coverage is driven by our underlying Disruptor data which tracks all major deals, patents, company filings, hiring patterns and social media buzz across our sectors.  

Is VW Group unit Audi set to work closely with SAIC on EV projects in China? It looks like it. According to GlobalData’s deals database, details of any potential cooperation are still a little vague. However, Audi has been looking to buy-in EV tech and work more closely with Chinese partners, including XPeng and SAIC. Audi is already a JV partner with SAIC, so it’s a logical choice for closer collaboration in the future.

Moves to get closer to Chinese partners on EV products follow Audi’s dissatisfaction with software related delays to its VW Group parent’s Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) architecture for EVs. Audi is also seen as slow to electrification, a particular problem in the world’s largest car market which is seeing explosive growth in electrified vehicles.

This week, Audi has signed a strategic memorandum with SAIC to further expand existing cooperation. The two companies said development activities are to extend the portfolio of fully connected electric vehicles on offer in the premium segment. It is planned to start with electric models in a segment where Audi does not as yet have a presence in China.

The emphasis is on a vehicle developed ‘in China for China’. Even closer cooperation with a local partner such as SAIC supports Audi’s ambition to create a premium market segment for all-electric and fully connected cars in China.

SAIC will contribute technology (likely, a platform) and actively participate in the joint product development.

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