SHANGHAI, April 18 Audi AG and its
China joint-venture partner FAW Group will produce and sell
five "e-tron" plug-in cars in China over the next five years,
part of a global push to boost sales of all-electric battery and
plug-in hybrid vehicles.
As part of this agreement, the two companies recently began
producing in China the first of the five planned cars - a
plug-in hybrid version of the Audi A6L. The model is expected to
hit the market later this year.
"In this plan we have a clear focus on e-tron cars," Dietmar
Voggenreiter, a member of Audi's management board, told Reuters
in an interview ahead of the Shanghai auto show which opens to
the public on Friday.
"Sustainability is one of the mega trends worldwide and
China is a leading market in electric mobility."
Globally, Audi aims to generate 30 percent of its overall
sales from electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2025. It
currently sells one e-tron car in China, a plug-in hybrid
version of the A3 which is imported from Germany.
At an event on Tuesday, Audi gave a "sneak preview" of the
Audi e-tron Sportback concept car, a fully-electric battery car
that the premium automaker is expected to unveil at the Shanghai
Voggenreiter said the concept car was "really close" to the
version expected to be mass produced in Germany from 2019. He
added the car would first be produced in Europe, "but we will
see whether to import into China or produce it in China."
He added Audi believed the green car industry might hit a
"tipping point" in the next couple of years and see demand for
plug-in cars accelerate.
"There is, first of all, a worldwide customer trend for
sustainability," he said. "In a transition phase we will have
plug-in hybrid cars. In the long-run we will see more and more
fully electric battery cars."
(Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Adam Jourdan and