The Volkswagen Group plans to assemble electric vehicles under the Seat brand at its EV joint venture with state-owned Chinese automaker Jianghuai Automobile Co. in two to three years.
VW will establish an r&d center at the partnership to develop EVs as well as vehicle connectivity and autonomous driving technologies specifically for the Chinese market, according to a memorandum of understanding VW signed with JAC in Berlin on Monday.
Under the deal, the Seat brand will become a shareholder in JAC VW ¨C currently a 50-50 joint venture between JAC and VW's Beijing-based investment holding company, VW Group China, via a capital increase of JAC Volkswagen or a share transfer from VW Group China.
ˇ°This will result in the introduction of the Seat brand in the China market, targeting 2020-2021,ˇ± VW said in a statement.
Going forward, JAC VW will launch a new electric vehicle platform on which EVs across all segments will be developed for both China and the global market, according to VW.
Introducing EVs for Seat at JAC VW is part of the Volkswagen Group's plan to roll out 40 locally produced EVs in China over the next seven to eight years, along with its two other local joint venture partners -- China FAW Group Corp. and SAIC, the German auto giant added.
JAC VW, incorporated in the east China city of Hefei in early 2017, started mass production of its first product, a Sol-badged E20X electric subcompact crossover, in May. The vehicle will go on sale in China in the second half of the year.
The joint venture will only produce EVs with annual production capacity of 100,000.
Seat's sister brand, Skoda, began selling locally built cars in China in 2005. Since then China has become Skoda's largest market. Seat briefly shipped a very small number of cars from Europe to China before pulling out in 2015.