Shanghai (Gasgoo)- SAIC Motor sold a total of 7,051,734 vehicles throughout 2018, achieving a year-on-year (YoY) growth of 1.75% and gaining 24% of market shares in China, the automaker reported on January 4, 2019. However, in the final month last year, its sales still dropped 10.02% over a year ago to 659,696 units.
Gasgoo hereby summarized the automaker's top stories that happened in 2018 as below.
SAIC Motor, NIO get China's first set of autonomous vehicle road test licenses
On March 1, Shanghai municipal government announced at a conference that SAIC Motor and NIO got China's first batch of license plates for the public road test of intelligent-connected vehicles (ICV), which was accredited by the third party organization and expert group.
At the conference, the government also introduced the regulation of Shanghai ICV test (hereinafter as regulation) which was jointly issued by Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Information, Shanghai Municipal Police and Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission on February 27.
SAIC, Infineon set up new JV to offer power modules for EVs
SAIC Group and Infineon Technologies AG (hereinafter referred to as Infineon) announced on March 2 that they would set up a new JV to manufacture power modules for electric vehicles. SAIC Group and Infineon would hold a respective stake of 51% and 49% of the new JV. Named SAIC Infineon Automotive Power Modules (Shanghai) Co, Ltd. (SAIPM), the new JV is headquartered in Shanghai, and its production base is located in Wuxi.
The joint venture SIAPM offers power solutions for electric vehicles in China, aiming to provide more convenient and high-quality service and experience for all customers related to new energy industrial chain in China. In addition, Infineon would continue to independently serve other markets. The joint venture would focus on frame-based HybridPACK™ modules for the Chinese market. First-generation automotive frame-based IGBT modules within the HybridPACK™ family were introduced by Infineon in 2006 and are widely used in plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicles worldwide.
Audi senior executive joins SAIC VW to speed up SAIC-Audi channel building
Fred Schulze, former director of Audi's C-class and D-class SUV as well as crossover models, was appointed as technical executive vice president of SAIC Volkswagen (SAIC VW) in Shanghai, taking charge of the Shanghai-based joint venture's manufacturing, logistics and production management businesses, according to reports in early March. Meanwhile, he succeeded Dr. Christian Vollmer who became vice-president for production and logistics of the SEAT brand with effect from July 1, 2018.
According to the published records, Fred Schulze holds a degree in production engineering and is certificated as a welding engineer. Possessing a 25-year experience of Audi products' manufacturing, Fred Schulze started his career with Audi brand in Neckarsulm plant in 1993. Then he was successively responsible for quality assurance and body production of the Audi brand. In 2004, he joined the VW Commercial Vehicles brand. He was named as director of the production of VW's plant in Emden in 2010, manager of the Audi Neckarsulm plant in 2012 and manager of the Audi Ingolstadt plant in 2015. From 2016, he had been in charge of the C-class and D-class SUVs and crossover series of the Audi brand.
SAIC Motor, CATL sign MoU on power battery recycling
SAIC Motor and Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL), China's leading power battery maker, signed a strategic memorandum of understanding (MoU) on March 22 to develop a deeper cooperation on new energy vehicle (NEV) battery recycling. Both parties would make full use of their advantages in R&D, manufacturing and services of new energy products to jointly boost the development of power battery recycling industry in China.
This was not the first cooperation of SAIC Motor and CATL. The prospectus CATL exposed before showed that CATL and SAIC Capital Investment Limited jointly built CATL-SAIC Motor Power Battery Co.,Ltd and SAIC Motor-CATL Power Battery System Co.,Ltd in June 2017, with registered capitals of RMB 2 billion and RMB 300 million respectively. Both parties announced then to co-produce a production base of highly intelligent and environmentally friendly battery products and battery system.
SAIC Motor starts construction of Ningde PV production base
SAIC Motor officially started the construction of its PV (passenger vehicle) manufacturing base in Ningde, Fujian Province (hereinafter, Ningde base) on April 28. This is the fourth plant of SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle following the Lingang plant in Shanghai, Pukou plant in Nanjing and the plant in Zhengzhou, Henan province.
The Ningde base, covering an area of 2200mu (around 1,466 thousand square meters) and involving an investment of around RMB 5 billion, is slated to start production in 2019. Reportedly, the new base will mainly manufacture the NEV models under SAIC Motor PV, including Roewe and MG.
Alibaba, SAIC Motor jointly launch simulation computing cloud platform
Alibaba Cloud, a subsidiary of Alibaba Group, and SAIC Motor jointly launched the SSCC (SAIC Simulation Computing Cloud) on June 7, which is claimed to be China's first cloud-based simulation computing platform designed for vehicle research and development.
The cooperation between the Internet company and the automaker mainly focus on vehicle R&D and engineering issues. According to the automaker, SAIC Motor had its simulation computing efficiency increased 25% by drawing on Alibaba's advantage in cloud computing, thus the engineering developer could focus more on designing and optimizing products. Besides, the cooperation also helps the automaker to provide users with scalable high-performance computing resources as well as stable and effective simulation computing services.
Audi confirmed to acquire equity in SAIC-VW
Audi had acquired 1% stake in SAIC-VW, Chen Hong, Chairman of SAIC Motor, revealed on June 25 at SAIC Motor's 2017 general shareholders' meeting.
In fact, SAIC-VW underwent equity structure change in June. Audi's acquisition of 1% stake in SAIC-VW means that SAIC-VW is allowed to manufacture models bearing the trademark of SAIC-Audi.
SAIC Motor builds first AI lab in China auto industry
SAIC Motor announced the establishment of its artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory on June 29. This is the first AI lab in China's automobile industry which is designed to develop AI applications and solutions and promote a deep integration of Internet technologies and automobile industry, based on the group's cloud computing platform, big data platform and rich business scenarios.
Zu Sijie, the deputy chief engineer of SAIC Motor said in an interview that as a significant part of the company's core competitiveness, the AI lab would make full use of SAIC Motor's abundant resources in application scenarios to develop advanced AI technologies, focusing on intelligent travelling, intelligent manufacturing and intelligent driving.
SAIC Motor posts 18.95% YoY growth in H1 net profit
SAIC Motor reported a year-on-year jump of 18.95% in net profit with earning RMB 18.982 billion for the first six months in 2018.
According to the semi-annual report, the auto group saw its sales climb 11% from the previous year to 3.523 million units in the first half of the year. The Jan-June sales of the PV and CV segments amounted to 3.081million units and 442 thousand units respectively. Besides, a total of around 130 thousand vehicles were exported and sold in overseas market from January to June, a vigorous year-on-year leap of 104%.
The report also said that SAIC Motor's self-owned PV brand presented a blooming year-on-year growth of 53.7% with 359 thousand vehicles delivered in the first half of the year, following Geely Auto, Changan Automobile and Great Wall Motor.
SAIC Motor, Ministry of Public Security to co-develop IoV application, self-driving road test
SAIC Motor and Traffic Management Research Institute of the Ministry of Public Security reached a strategic cooperation agreement on August 30 to jointly develop applications of IoV (Internet of Vehicles) technologies and traffic security search. Meanwhile, they would conduct autonomous vehicle safety tests together.
Under the partnership, both parties would join forces to research and formulate the standards for data interaction and the communication interface connecting intelligent car-mounted terminal, autonomous vehicles as well as car-road synergy service platform.
Besides, two parties intended to jointly explore the ICV (intelligent-connected vehicle) digital identity authentication technologies and security certification mechanism based on the vehicle electronic registration identification.
SAIC-GM, CATL sign strategic cooperation agreement to research, develop NEV batteries
On August 31, SAIC-GM and CATL signed a strategic cooperation agreement in Shanghai, saying that both parties would join forces to seek in-depth exploration in battery technology field, and deepen cooperation in R&D of SAIC-GM's next-gen NEV batteries.
By virtue of their respective advantages, SAIC-GM and CATL would jointly explore highly-efficient cooperative mode to deepen strategic cooperation in NEV battery field. In the meantime, as their cooperation deepens, both parties would jointly improve their abilities in sustainable development and innovation to shape potent core competitiveness.
SAIC Volkswagen sees groundbreaking of NEV plant in Anting, Shanghai
On October 19, SAIC Volkswagen (SAIC VW)'s NEV (new energy vehicle) plant started construction in Anting Town of Shanghai's Jiading District. Involving a total investment of RMB17 billion, the new NEV plant will be put into operation in 2020 with a planned annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles.
Covering an overall floorage of around 610,000 square meters, the Anting NEV plant is SAIC VW's first assembly line that specializes in manufacturing the MEB platform-based BEVs (battery electric vehicles). Inspired by the German Industrie 4.0 Strategy, the new plant will be outfitted with the cutting-edge production and automation technologies to substantially enhance the labor productivity and manufacturing efficiency. The automaker said the NEV plant will deploy over 1,400 units of industrial robots, among which 1,000 robots will work at the body workshop.
The NEV plant is set to produce the MEB platform-based BEV models under such brands as Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda. Apart from the BEV production, the construction of a battery pack assembly line will be implemented simultaneously.
SAIC Motor, China Mobile team up to develop 5G ICV
SAIC Motor and China Mobile reached a strategic cooperation agreement on November 6 to co-develop China's first volume 5G ICV (Internet-connected vehicle) model. They are ambitious to give impetus to the upgrading of ICV technologies and energize China's auto industry with 5G communication technology.
Under the new agreement, both companies plan to develop an ICV model based on tailor-made services and ecosystem designed for vehicle-using scenarios and actively boost the mass production of the first 5G ICV. To offer mobility services abroad, they would jointly work on data management & operation and car-borne network access.
SAIC Motor formally launches mobility brand Xiangdao Chuxing
SAIC Motor formally launched its mobility brand known as “Xiangdao Chuxing” on December 18, saying it put the ride-hailing service into official operation from then on.
On November 12, the Shanghai-based automaker announced its foray into the ride-hailing domain by releasing its own strategic mobility brand “Xiangdao Chuxing” and then started the trial operation of the brand's first production line six days later.
Chen Hong, Chairman of SAIC Motor, stated at the launch ceremony that Xiangdao Chuxing had gained a favorable beginning during the one-month trial operation with over 600,000 users registered on the platform and serving more than 1 million kilometers.
SAIC VW again crowned China's champion PV maker by selling 2.065 million vehicles in 2018
SAIC VW reported an annual sales volume of 2,065,077 vehicles in 2018, the fourth year in a row becoming the champion PV maker in China. The yearly sales of Volkswagen brand and Skoda were around 1,713,000 units and 352,000 units respectively.
In 2018, SAIC VW's Volkswagen brand was still the sales champion topping other single PV brands in China from the previous year. Noticeably, its SUV sales evidently grew 16.1% over the previous year to around 542,000 units on an annual basis despite the country's overall SUV sales downturn.
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