Audi seeks to take over the EV platform owned by IM Motors, with talks in an advanced stage, according to a Reuters report.
(Image credit: CnEVPost)
Audi is rumored to be considering buying a platform from a rival for the first time in China to shorten the development time of its models, and a subsidiary of SAIC Motor Corp could be on the horizon.
Audi is in talks with SAIC to buy the Chinese state-owned automaker's electric vehicle (EV) platform in an unprecedented effort to shore up market share, Reuters said in a report today, citing two people familiar with the matter.
The Volkswagen Group's premium car brand seeks to take over the EV platform owned by SAIC's EV unit IM Motors, according to the report. Negotiations are at an advanced stage, one of the sources said.
IM Motors was founded on November 26, 2020, by SAIC, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech and Alibaba, with SAIC holding a majority stake.
In April 2021, its first model, the IM Motors L7 sedan, was available for pre-order during the Shanghai auto show, and deliveries began on June 18 this year.
In February, IM Motors' second model, the LS7 SUV, was officially launched in China.
In response to the report, local media outlet The Paper quoted SAIC's response as saying that the company currently has no material matters that should be disclosed but have not been disclosed.
On July 9, German media outlet Automobilwoche reported that Audi is seeking outside help to shorten the development time of its models, and that in China, the Volkswagen subsidiary is in talks with rivals.
Audi is considering buying a platform from a rival for the first time in China, and Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blume has approved the project, according to the report.
Audi urgently needs electric platforms because its own developments, such as the Trinity program, have been severely delayed, the report noted.
Audi is facing the awkward position of being behind in China's fast-growing EV market.
Audi offers two electric models in China based on the Volkswagen MEB platform -- the Q4 e-tron and the Q5 e-tron.
Audi sold just over 3,000 EVs in China in the first quarter, while BMW sold 21,646 EVs and Tesla sold 137,429, a Reuters report said, citing data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).
In an interview with Reuters last month, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann said the company had to accelerate the development of new models to meet surging demand for electric vehicles globally, especially in China.