Signs are growing that Audi is poised to add China’s largest carmaker as a manufacturing partner as the German premium brand pushes to regain share lost to Mercedes-Benz and BMW in the world’s biggest market, reported Bloomberg.
According to China Bidding and Purchasing Network, VW Group, Audi’s parent company and China’s SAIC Motor Corporation invited parts makers to bid to become suppliers for an Audi A7L they plan to build. Interested companies can obtain bidding documents by 9 December 2019.
The document on China Bidding and Purchasing Network’s website suggests that longtime talks between Volkswagen and SAIC over Audi have progressed to the point that they can start laying the groundwork to set up a supply chain.
Audi, which has thus far had China FAW Group Corporation as its sole China manufacturing partner, has faced opposition to the SAIC plan from dealerships concerned that they would lose business.
In February 2017, Audi dealers said that they would drop opposition to a second joint venture once the German automaker reaches sales of one million cars a year in the country. Audi delivered just over 663,000 vehicles in China last year, narrowly beating Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz with 653,000 cars. BMW sold about 640,000 vehicles, including Minicars.
Chen Hong, SAIC Chairman, said that SAIC and Volkswagen have been in talks to expand cooperation to include Audi and the two parties have come up with a preliminary plan as per what cars they would make together.