Audi and SAIC Motor Corp. have agreed to partner on electric-vehicle projects as the German premium brand seeks to catch up with rivals in the key EV market.
Audi said on Thursday that it reached an agreement with state-owned SAIC in which the two companies will accelerate the electrification of their portfolio as China’s auto market rapidly shifts to EVs.
Audi is under pressure to improve sales, especially in China and is reported to be seeking to use a platform owned by IM Motors, SAIC's premium EV brand.
Zu Sijie, SAIC’s chief engineer, told reporters on Thursday the automaker is deepening its cooperation with Audi, and licensing or joint development are options for future projects.
Volkswagen Group, Audi's parent, already partners with SAIC to produce gasoline-powered cars.
Audi's own EV push has stalled after VW Group's software troubles delayed the launches of key new electric cars such as the Q6 E-tron. VW Group also cancelled Audi's Artemis project for an autonomous flagship electric car.
Audi CEO Markus Duesmann will be replaced by VW Group veteran Gernot Doellner on Sept. 1. Doellner will be tasked with addressing Audi's challenges such as being slow to electrify and a lack of new models.