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Speed is crucial for success in China, says senior Audi exec

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-11-21 14:07

Juergen Unser, president of Audi China, speaks at the Guangzhou auto show on Nov 17, 2023.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Speed is crucial for Audi in its transition towards e-mobility as the German carmaker vows to consolidate its position in China's increasingly competitive premium vehicle market, said a senior company executive.

Juergen Unser, president of Audi China, said the carmaker needs to be faster to roll out products based on market changes and to reach a broader group of customers.

He said Audi, with its two joint ventures of FAW Audi and SAIC Audi, is speeding up to present a richer lineup of models for Chinese customers. "We will surprise you with our products in 2025," he said.

Of them are electric vehicles to be produced based on the PPE platform co-developed by Audi and Porsche.

A plant dedicated to PPE vehicles has been built in Changchun, Jilin province, with FAW, with the first model scheduled to roll off the assembly line around late 2024.

Audi inked a memo with another partner, SAIC, earlier this year to develop intelligent connected vehicles for the Chinese market.

The German brand, which has been in China for 35 years, is confident about the prospects of the premium vehicle segment in the country.

Katy Tsang, executive vice-president of sales and marketing at Audi China, said China's premium vehicle market will see a growth rate of around 10 percent this year, partly driven by demand for electric vehicles.

She said Audi is estimated to see double-digit growth this year as well in China based on its performance so far.

But Tsang added that the Chinese market is the most dynamic one in the world and in the eyes of Chinese car buyers now, premium brands don't have to be foreign ones, a fact that is posing challenges to global carmakers.

FAW-Audi has been the backbone of the carmaker's business in the country. Michael Arndt, head of FAW Audi Sales Co, said it has sold over 500,000 units so far this year, up 4 percent year-on-year, as a major contributor to Audi's global sales.

Arndt said the company is further enhancing its network of dealerships and bettering its service to accurately learn about and meet the demand of its 8.5 million customers in China.

SAIC Audi is still "a new kid on the block", said its president Thorsten Godulla. It has three models available in the market but its sales this year have tripled compared with 2022.

Godulla said the company will rev up efforts to roll out smart electric models with SAIC based on the demand of local Chinese customers, which will further enrich its lineup.

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