Volkswagen Xiaopeng cooperation again big action


Zhang Dongmei


The holding of hands between Volkswagen Group and Xiaopeng Motor was one of the heaviest news in the domestic automobile circle last year. Now, the cooperation between the two sides has deepened.


On February 29, Volkswagen Group and Xopeng Motor announced that the two sides signed a joint development agreement on technical cooperation. The two sides will jointly develop two B-class pure electric intelligent connected vehicles for the Chinese market, which have been confirmed to be launched in 2026, the first model of which is an SUV. As an important part of the joint development agreement, the two parties also entered into a joint procurement plan for common parts for models and platforms, aiming to reduce costs through economies of scale.


■ Volkswagen Group: Time waits for no one



"China is the largest and fastest growing electric vehicle market in the world. Speed is of the essence when it comes to opening up promising market segments and leading the way." "Through the cooperation with Xopeng, Volkswagen will shorten the product development cycle, improve efficiency and optimize the cost structure," said Berryd, managing director of Volkswagen Group in charge of the China business. In a highly price sensitive market environment, this will significantly enhance the economic competitiveness of products."


It can be seen that the pace of product change of one to two cars per year by China's new car makers has affected the pace of new car launches by traditional car companies, making them feel a sense of urgency. Through joint procurement and the application of innovative technologies at the vehicle design and engineering stages, the product development cycle will be reduced by more than 30 percent.


The cooperation between the two sides was first announced to foreign officials in July last year, causing a shock in the automotive industry. According to the agreement, the Volkswagen Group invested about $700 million to acquire about 4.99% of the equity of Xiaopeng. The new car development plan was disclosed at the time, and Volkswagen (China) Technology Co., Ltd. is the core of this layout, which is also the largest research and development base of the Volkswagen Group outside the Wolfsburg.


At that time, Volkswagen China told China Automotive News: "Volkswagen (China) Technology Co., LTD. (VCTC), located in Hefei, Anhui Province, will cooperate with Xopeng Automobile to develop two new models of the Volkswagen brand." This technology company is an important strategic move for us and we have invested around €1 billion to build this strong local R&D base and advance the development of Intelligent Connected vehicles (ICV). This research and development base will have more than 2,000 technical experts to carry out related work. We will also set up a project team here, with teams from Volkswagen and Xiaopeng to jointly develop two models of the Volkswagen brand."


"The penetration rate of new energy vehicles in the Chinese market has exceeded 30%, and this figure is expected to reach 50% by 2025." The Volkswagen Group must quickly seize the huge potential of market growth and meet the expectations of Chinese users for high-quality products." Berry's statement on Weibo at that time has highlighted the sense of urgency and expectation of the Volkswagen Group to compete for a share of the huge changes in the Chinese auto market.



As we all know, Volkswagen Group is the king of the internal combustion engine era, but in the era of electric transformation is weak, and in the intelligent cabin, intelligent driving and other fields are also gradually opening the gap with the industry leader. In order to catch up, the Volkswagen Group chose to make friends and successively reached cooperation with Chinese enterprises such as Guoxuan High-tech, Zhongke Chuangda, Horizon and Xiaopeng Automobile.


At a media conference in January this year, the Volkswagen Group announced its plans and targets for electrification. Among them, in 2024, Volkswagen will launch more than ten pure electric models in the Chinese market, mainly based on the MEB and PPE platforms. More than 20 pure electric vehicles will be launched by 2027, and the SSP platform is also planned to be fully marketed at a later date. By 2030, Volkswagen will offer at least 30 pure electric models in China.


■ Xiaopeng Motor: Open book



Look at Xiaopeng Automobile, the signature is intelligent, and it has leading technology and innovation in automatic driving, intelligent network connection, intelligent cockpit and so on. When the two sides officially announced the cooperation last year, it was revealed that the two models planned to be jointly developed by Volkswagen Group and Xpeng Motor will use Xpeng's G9 model platform, intelligent cockpit and advanced driver assistance system software.


According to XOPeng, in this cooperation, Xopeng provides intelligent driving systems, Volkswagen provides engineering design capabilities and supply chains, and the two sides share a larger database. In the cooperation between the two sides, the advantages of Volkswagen Group lie in quality, manufacturing, scale, battery, etc., while the advantages of Xopeng Automobile lie in software, ADAS, etc. The two sides can also create synergies in modules and parts procurement, reducing R&D and procurement costs.


By cooperating in the context of software-defined cars, Xopeng Motors can learn from the systematic scale capabilities of global outstanding car companies, while Volkswagen Group strives to adapt to the speed and efficiency of new forces in car making.


The hand in hand between Volkswagen Group and Xopeng Automobile has also created a precedent for cooperation between multinational car companies and the new forces of car manufacturing in China. China's auto industry has evolved from the past "market for technology" to "technology for market", and Chinese auto companies will also change from the past technology importers to technology exporters. After that, Stellantis Group joined hands with Zero Run, and also took a look at zero Run technology, especially CTC battery chassis integration technology and "four-leaf clover" central centralized electronic and electrical architecture, hoping to use zero Run's advanced electrification and intelligent technology to help the company accelerate its transformation. As a result, China's automobile industry has entered a new stage of "reverse joint venture".


In addition, it is worth mentioning that while cooperating with Volkswagen Group, Xopeng Motor itself is also speeding up, chairman He Xiaopeng said in the 2024 Spring Festival construction letter that this year is the first year of Xopeng's product and technology platform accumulation and outbreak, and about 30 new products or changes are planned within 3 years. In 2024, more people will be employed (about 4,000 people will be hired) and more than 40% of the R&D budget will be invested year-on-year. Among them, intelligent driving is the longboard that Xiaopeng Motor can not be discarded. He Xiaopeng said that in 2024, a total of 3.5 billion yuan will be invested in research and development of "AI technology with intelligent driving as the core".


China Automotive News, March 1, 2024