For months, we now have been listening to concerning the difficulties Volkswagen Group has been having with Cariad, its software program division. There have have been stories of harsh phrases spoken within the boardroom by each Audi and Porsche representatives as a result of points with Cariad are stopping it from bringing new electrical automotive fashions to market in a well timed trend.
The MEB platform could also be okay for the ID.-branded automobiles for the Volkswagen model, however not the reply the opposite manufacturers want. There was discuss of a brand new platform referred to as the Scalable Techniques Platform, or SSP. It was imagined to be the subsequent step ahead for Volkswagen Group and the premise for the subsequent era of EVs for all its divisions.
The plan began whereas Herbert Diess was on the helm of the world’s second largest automaker. The delay in getting the SSP into manufacturing most likely performed a task in Diess being kicked upstairs so Oliver Blume, head of the Porsche model, might take his place and get the SSP platform and the Cariad division again on observe.
There have been rumors that SSP may be delayed till 2027, whereas others mentioned 2029 on the earliest. Then just a few weeks in the past, Blume informed buyers the SSP undertaking is again on observe and will probably be prepared by 2026. This follows a housecleaning at Cariad that noticed all the highest managers put out to pasture and a brand new crew introduced onboard.
Blume informed these in attendance, “The SSP structure will stability the necessity for scale and standardization with differentiation and pace,” in line with Autocar. Initially, SSP was imagined to be able to dealing with as much as 1100 horsepower, however Blume now says the platform will have the ability to assist automobiles with as much as 1700 horsepower.
Within the meantime, Porsche and Audi are working collectively on one more electrical automotive platform, this one generally known as PPE, which stands for Premium Platform Electrical. That structure will type the premise of the brand new battery-electric Porsche Macan and one or two fashions from Audi.
Audi In China
Audi is dependent upon gross sales in China for a lot of its enterprise. It presently sells two EV fashions in China, the This fall e-tron and Q5 e-tron, each of that are primarily based on the MEB platform. However gross sales have been lower than what the corporate hoped for, as fashions from Tesla and Nio, amongst others, have outsold the choices from Audi by a large margin.
All of this tumult has led Audi to a fairly startling resolution. In line with Automobilwoche, the German language model of Automotive Information, Audi is contemplating shopping for an electrical automotive platform from a competitor in China to shorten improvement instances for future fashions.
Audi must replace and broaden its EV choices to maintain up with opponents, particularly in China, after key new electrical fashions such because the Q6 E-tron had been delayed because of software program issues and its Artemis undertaking for an autonomous flagship automotive was axed, AN stories.
Bear in mind how Oliver Blume mentioned just some weeks in the past the SSP platform was again on observe? Possibly it’s and possibly it isn’t. The report from Automotive Information says it has been pushed again to 2029 and Audi is determined to get its Q6 e-tron into manufacturing and accessible for patrons in China. Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume has already permitted Audi’s plan, sources have mentioned, and it may very well be permitted at a gathering of the Audi board of administration this week.
Precisely who would provide an electrical automotive platform to Audi is unclear at this level. AN says it may very well be both BYD or BAIC. Reuters says its sources declare SAIC would be the supply. Others tells AN that Audi is speaking with a number of firms and that no resolution has been made as of but, however that Audi’s future EVs possible will nonetheless use styling components from the automaker’s collection of Sphere ideas.
The Reuters report says Audi desires to take over the EV platform owned by SAIC’s EV unit — IM Motors — which began supply of its first mannequin, the L7 sedan, in June of final 12 months. It’s a premium EV model managed by SAIC, and its buyers embrace e-commerce large Alibaba Group. The sources mentioned talks are at an “superior stage,” with out additional elaboration.
Audi declined to touch upon whether or not the talks had been happening. SAIC declined to remark. Reuters mentioned it was not instantly capable of set up the value Audi has supplied for the EV platform or whether or not SAIC would nonetheless be concerned in making the L7 sedan if a deal is struck between the businesses. Chinese language media outlet Mingjing Professional reported Audi’s potential takeover of the platform on Tuesday, Reuters mentioned.
Gross sales of Audi electrical automobiles in China have been effectively beneath expectations. Within the first quarter, solely 3000 automobiles had been delivered to prospects in China. As compared, BMW bought 21,646 EVs and Tesla bought 137,429 automobiles, in line with information from the China Affiliation of Car Producers.
Outgoing Audi CEO Markus Duesmann earlier this 12 months promised that the model had “product fireworks” within the pipeline, with out being particular. Duesmann will probably be changed as CEO on September 1 by Gernot Doellner, who was the chief strategist for the Volkswagen Group till his new appointment.
The PPE platform that Audi and Porsche are growing will function the premise for automobiles produced at a brand new Audi manufacturing unit below development within the northeastern metropolis of Changchun. The automobiles manufactured there will probably be tailor-made particularly to the tastes of Chinese language prospects. In the meantime, Audi can also be planning to construct some fashions within the US.
Within the auto business, platforms are what make constructing automobiles a worthwhile enterprise. They’re versatile sufficient to be the premise of a number of totally different fashions, whereas standardized sufficient to leverage the advantages of mass manufacturing. However till now, they’ve been proprietary designs which might be an expression of one of the best engineering an organization can muster. The concept an Audi would possibly look like an Audi however be constructed on a platform from SAIC, BAIC, or BYD is startling.
40 years in the past, Basic Motors acquired into sizzling water with its prospects when it began putting in Chevrolet engines in Pontiacs, Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Cadillacs. GM’s causes had been completely comprehensible. It’s simpler and cheaper to fabricate thousands and thousands of engines that use the identical bore and stroke and crankshafts than it’s to construct just a few hundred thousand examples of 10 totally different engines, however the prospects weren’t impressed with GM’s logic and sued.
What does this information from Audi say about the way forward for the auto business? Might this be the start of the good consolidation many business observers have been predicting for the reason that EV revolution started? Would a buyer in Germany plunk down hard-earned euros for an Audi constructed on a Chinese language chassis? The solutions are removed from clear, however could have important penalties for the business.
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