Audi today announced that it has signed a deal that should rescue its plunging sales in the country which had already had a major impact its 2017 global sales.
Earlier this month Audi confirmed that its global sales were down 5.0 per cent on 2016 with the largest factor in the decline blamed on the dispute in China, where year-on-year sales in April were down 6.9 per cent.
Audi dealers in China were unhappy about Audi’s recent manufacturing agreement with SAIC in the country. Dealers currently sell Audi cars manufactured in China with FAW as well as models imported from Germany. They were concerned the deal with SAIC would deny them access to future models produced with SAIC.
Audi’s statement today confirms that Audi models from planned SAIC Audi collaboration will be distributed through existing sales network.
Audi reports that it, FAW Group and FAW-Volkswagen have signed an agreement with the Audi dealer council for the future development of the Audi business in China. The agreement is based on a common understanding of how the planned cooperation between SAIC and Audi will meet the interests of all parties involved. AUDI AG, FAW Group and FAW-Volkswagen will implement the 10-year growth plan together with their dealer partners in order to develop business in China in a profitable and sustainable way.
“This very constructive agreement is a strategic milestone for Audi’s business in China,” says Dietmar Voggenreiter, Board member for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG. “It paves the way for our two partner strategy and will allow us to further strengthen our commitment to China. Together with strong partners, we will shape the future of premium mobility in China by further extending our local product and service portfolio, ensuring an attractive business for all parties.”
Based on the 10-year growth plan of AUDI AG, FAW Group and FAW-Volkswagen, Audi will extend its portfolio of locally produced and imported models in China. The brand will continuously deliver attractive premium cars, future technologies and top service to customers in China. The co-operation in the field of electric mobility will be expanded. In the next five years, the Audi brand at FAW-Volkswagen will bring five new e-tron models to market. To advance localisation, the collaboration in the field of tool making will also be enhanced.
All parties reached a mutual understanding, Audi says, that Audi models from a potential partnership between Audi and SAIC Motor would be sold through the brand’s existing dealer network in China. A new sales steering structure will be defined for the unified distribution of Audi products from two partners.
Audi and Volkswagen Group’s long-held partner SAIC are in the process of evaluating a partnership for the production and distribution of Audi models and establishing data and mobility services. The aim of the strategic course is to develop the China business profitably for all parties involved. In addition to an extended product portfolio, the two-pillar strategy would provide the existing dealer network with synergies for their after-sales infrastructure.
As a long-time partner of the Chinese automotive industry, Audi says it remains firmly committed to play an active role in the further development of the country’s car sector.