Audi rumored to be shopping around China for its next EV platform

After multiple development delays due to software issues internally and at parent company Volkswagen Group, Audi AG is reportedly exploring discussions in China to buy its next generation EV platform from another OEM, perhaps even a competitor overseas.

Audi currently sits as a legacy automaker with one of the most robust lineups of all-electric vehicles… as long as you can tell them all apart given their similar e-tron nomenclature. While other EU automakers, including some in Audi’s same Volkswagen Group family (ahem… Porsche) explore ways to waste time and money on a murky future surrounding e-fuels, Audi’s CEO Markus Duesmann has doubled down on the company’s commitment to electrification.

Despite that admirable dedication, Audi’s sales have lagged behind German competitors like Mercedes-Benz and BMW – which led to the ousting of Duesmann as CEO last month. He will be succeeded by Volkswagen Group veteran Gernot Döllner.

Döllner officially takes the reins September 1 and will be tasked with elevating a luxury brand committed to electrification that has been impeded by development issues, particularly on the software side. Döllner’s predecessor had previously promised “fireworks” in Audi’s EV pipeline, but so far we’ve only seen concepts like the Urbansphere and Activesphere EVs seen above and below, respectively.

With clear platform delays on the schedule at Volkswagen Group and a new chief on the hot seat, Audi is rumored to be searching for a new partner in China in which the luxury automaker can simply buy its next generation EV platform and start getting its next wave of vehicles out on roads.

Audi’s Activesphere concept, featuring some design elements of the automaker’s future EVs / Credit: Audi

Audi may be kicking the platform tires in China to catch up

According to automobile weeksources at Audi state the German automaker is in discussions with multiple OEMs in China to buy EV platform technology. Those sources would not name any specific Chinese automakers, however.

If this is true, Audi has a plethora of EV conglomerates to choose from as China is easily the most saturated market for electric vehicle manufacturing. The region includes large OEMs like BYD, Geely, SAIC, BAIC, GAC, and even FAW who already has a joint venture in China with Volkswagen Group.

As previously touched upon, the SSP platform from Volkswagen Group that Audi is planning to use is now delayed to 2029 due to a number of software issues – unwelcome news for an automaker that’s already playing catchup in its given segment.

It’s hard to imagine Audi sitting back and waiting for the SSP from its parent, adding some cogency to the rumors of talks with China. The sources also told automobile week that VW Group CEO Oliver Blume has already approved Audi’s strategy to seek EV technology overseas, and that the board could vote to approve the plan this week.

Audi, however, states that has no knowledge of any discussions to buy an EV platform. We will see.

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