Volkswagen stated on Wednesday it would not produce or offer any Audi automobiles with SAIC Motor till at least 2018, seeking first to enhance ties with present Audi partner China FAW Motor.
Volkswagen stated in November a non-binding contract with SAIC to talk about a collaboration relating to Audi AG, which is the best selling premium brand name in China.
Tying up with SAIC, China’s biggest car manufacturer, might improve slowing sales for the premium Audi brand as Daimler’s Mercedes and more recent entrants including General Motor’s Cadillac eat into its market share.
“No sales, no production, absolutely nothing this year,” state-owned China Daily on Wednesday cited China chief Jochem Heizmann as saying.
A Volkswagen spokesperson verified Heizmann’s remarks, stating talks with SAIC were continuous however that absolutely nothing functional would take place prior to 2018.
“An agreement (with SAIC) could be reached in 2017 and there will be preparation with all the points for sales and production and so on,” an Audi spokesperson informed Reuters.
“As soon as there is an agreement, there will be steps to satisfy this agreement, however today we are simply in talks and we have no agreement.”
She included that while bigger talks were continuous, conversations about sales with SAIC were on hold up until an agreement is reached dealing with issues of existing FAW dealerships.
Volkswagen gets a bigger percentage of the earnings from the 50-50 tie-up with SAIC compared to its 40 percent stake in the venture with FAW.
Joint ventures with Volkswagen and Audi have offered FAW a lifeline as it has a hard time to develop effective brands of its own.