Views: 0 Author: LI FUSHENG Publish Time: 2023-03-21 Origin: https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202303/20/WS6417b3b1a31057c47ebb55e8.html
Audi is now in transition but it aspires to seek a position in the electric vehicle sector similar to the one it has enjoyed in the gasoline era, said CEO Markus Duesmann.
He made the remark on Thursday in an interview with China Daily ahead of the company's annual news conference.
The company is scheduled to unveil its first model based on the Premium Platform Electric or PPE in the second half of this year.
"With the Audi Q6 e-tron, e-mobility is coming from Ingolstadt for the first time," said Duesmann.
The German carmaker expects the platform, codeveloped with Porsche, to help it become a leading provider of "connected, fully electric premium mobility".
In 2022, Audi AG, which owns Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Ducati, delivered 118,196 fully electric vehicles, up 44 percent year-on-year.
They accounted for 7.2 percent of its total deliveries in the year, up from 4.8 percent in 2021.
Audi said its fully electric models including the Q4 e-tron "made a significant contribution" to the 16.4 percent increase in its revenue, as did the one-off consolidation of the Bentley brand in 2022.
Yet the models were less successful in China, the largest market for new energy vehicles, of which Duesmann became more aware after his trip to the country around 10 days ago.
He said the visit sat high on his agenda and he flew to Beijing one or two days after he received a visa.
Duesmann listened to Audi employees and representatives from Chinese partners FAW and SAIC and test drove competitive electric models available in the market.
"There is no second place where I see such research and development speed," said Duesmann. He said China has a "clear and high" position on the company's strategy and will drive its development in the new era.
"Electrification is picking up speed in China. New product launches are amazingly fast, so we do accordingly," he said.
The Q6 e-tron will be imported into China in 2024 and then locally produced at its Changchun plant in Northeast China's Jilin province later that year.
Duesmann said the locally made models will adopt China-specific electrical architecture and connectivity features developed by its growing Beijing team to appeal to tech-savvy Chinese customers.
From 2023 to 2027, the company will invest two-thirds of its outlays, or around 28 billion euros ($29.8 billion), in the future fields of electrification and digitalization.
Audi is scheduled to offer 10 electric models by 2025, which will enable it to offer a balanced lineup of electric and gasoline vehicles.
Audi China President Juergen Unser acknowledged the carmaker has "homework to do" in the NEV sector in the country.
He said the current electric Audi models are designed based on their gasoline siblings but Chinese customers expect EVs to be different from gasoline ones in the first place, saying that is why Audi is successful in Europe but not here in China.
But Unser said he is optimistic about the forthcoming PPE models. "They will surprise (you)," said Unser when asked about the models' competitive edge compared against rivals from Chinese startups, which are wooing customers away from established giants including Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
"We are confident that our next-generation models will bring us back to the pole position that we have enjoyed over the past decades," he said.