To further expand its business activities in the Chinese market, Audi has announced a partnership with its local partner, FAW Group. Together, the two companies plan to produce 30 electric and hybrid vehicles by 2025.
“In the past 29 years, Audi and the FAW Group have written Chinese automotive history. Together we have established the premium market in China and have continuously advanced its development. Now we are once again setting a historic milestone by enhancing our successful partnership with a strong road map for the coming decade,” said Rupert Stadler, CEO of AUDI AG.
This huge push comes shortly after Volkswagen has agreed to spend up to $16.5 billion in connection with its diesel emissions scandal. The company was using secret software to cheat exhaust emissions tests, covering up the fact that the affected vehicles emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollution levels, reports Business Insider.
According to a Chinese internal planning document, we can expect 8 new or updated battery-electric cars and plug-in hybrids for the Chinese market, starting with the Audi A6 L e-tron as first locally produced plug-in hybrid. The L at the end tells us that Chinese customers will get to enjoy a roomier version with a longer wheelbase. Rear seat comfort is highly valued in China, and manufacturers commonly offer stretched versions of their regular models.
Included on the list are also the Volkswagen e-Golf, a plug-in hybrid version of the second-generation VW Tiguan crossover, and the Q7 e-tron SUV. Nothing was said about the Q8, but the presentation did not specify the final two models out of the eight VW plans. Chinese customers should be able to purchase the Q7 e-tron SUV next year, but the car will be imported rather than manufactured in the country.
With more than 300,000 electric cars sold in China last year, the race has begun to see who can grab the largest share of the market. Chinese government has been offering very generous subsidies—as much as $16,000 per car—but they also require foreign car companies to share technology with local manufacturers. However, the latter could quickly change with a single reform. Such reform would be a green light for Tesla and their fleet of highly innovative electric sedans and SUVs.
Even though Chinese government wants local companies to learn from their, often more experienced, foreign counterparts, it also understands the importance of putting as much electric cars on Chinese roads as possible. And loosening the restrictions is the most straightforward way how to accomplish this goal.