Huawei and Dongfeng Motor, a Chinese manufacturing partner of Stellantis, are in an ongoing collaboration to develop smart electric vehicles, the companies have announced. This adds to a string of such deals by technology giant Huawei as it accelerates its entry into the auto market.
The partnership could help Voyah, a subsidiary of state-owned automaker Dongfeng, increase sales and expand its presence in the red-hot EV market where a wave of consolidation and reshuffling is underway, according to David Zhang, a visiting professor at Huanghe Science and Technology University.
Why it matters: The alliance is the latest example of Huawei’s multifold endeavor to expand into EVs. It has pushed two initiatives to enhance cooperation with carmakers in particular.
- One is the so-called “Huawei Inside (HI)” business model, signifying that cars will feature Huawei’s full-stack technologies such as automated driving software and infotainment systems. Changan Automobile and Mercedes’ Chinese partner BAIC are among its partners.
- The other is “Smart Selection,” in which Huawei not only provides technologies but also sales channels while gaining control over vehicle development. Aito has been the biggest success story under this approach, followed by the recent launch of Luxeed between Huawei and Chery.
Details: According to Zhang, Huawei will adopt the HI approach with Dongfeng, mainly selling the carmaker components and software, and will probably not go into as much depth as it did with Seres.
- This would allow Dongfeng, controlled by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, China’s state asset regulator, to maintain control of its premium EV brand, Zhang said.
- As more EVs embrace cutting-edge technologies, an automated driving system powered by Huawei could be a big selling point for Voyah, elevating it above other brands. The tie-up could see the companies share development and marketing costs, Zhang added.
- In a Monday announcement (in Chinese), Huawei and Dongfeng said they will move forward with the large-scale adoption of intelligent technologies with the joint development of new cars, without giving further details.
Context: Huawei has been working on the spin-off of its automotive business unit for several months. The company in November announced plans to establish a joint venture with Changan, stating that other existing partners such as Seres have been invited to invest in the new entity.
Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: [email protected] or Twitter: @jill_shen_sh
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