Audi partners with Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent on vehicle technology27. May 2022
German luxury car brand Audi recently announced its collaboration with leading technology companies from China such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent. Part of the collaboration is said to include features such as infotainment, autonomous driving and connectivity for the automaker’s upcoming EV cars. In this way, Audi hopes to make its vehicles more attractive to Chinese customers, especially younger buyers. Giorgio Delucchi, Audi’s head of sales for China and Hong Kong, said the company aims to incorporate only the latest technologies in its soon-to-be-released EVs. The carmaker is working with Alibaba Group Holding, Baidu and Tecent Holding on Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and urban mobility. Delucchi said in an interview that he wants to ensure Audi is at the forefront of technical cooperation and development with its Chinese partners. Infotainment, autonomous driving and connectivity functions are key areas that Audi needs to tap into in order to stay ahead of the competition in the Chinese market, the sales executive added. Vehicles and components must be awarded a CCC certificate in order to export the products to China or trade them locally.
For Audi, as the leading brand in China for luxury vehicles for three decades, the electrification of vehicle models in the world’s largest car market has only just begun. Tesla and Chinese start-ups such as Xpeng, NIO and Li Auto are entering the EV market as serious competitors. Their target group, young drivers, has a preference for intelligent vehicle features such as driver assistance systems, voice recognition and large displays in the vehicles. The aforementioned three Chinese start-ups, with more than 10,000 EVs delivered in November, have the potential to drastically reduce Tesla’s market share, according to experts. Audi, as the luxury car brand of the Volkswagen Group, does not report separate sales figures for their EVs in China, but is estimated to be far behind Tesla and the local start-ups. Tian Maowei, sales manager at a major car dealer in Shanghai, agrees: “In today’s e-vehicle market, customers are more interested in automatic functions and range.” Maowei adds: “Mercedes, BMW and Audi are popular brands for cars with combustion engines. However, they need to adapt their EV strategy respectively models for the Chinese market to attract customers here as well.”
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