Huawei and Xpeng have begun “technological poverty alleviation” for Toyota Volkswagen

Three years ago, Chen Hong, chairman of SAIC Motor, spoke out about the famous "soul theory" in the automotive industry: It is unacceptable to cooperate with a smart driving solution provider like Huawei. In this way, SAIC becomes a body and a soul. Gave it to someone else.

It doesn’t take thirty years in Hedong, thirty years in Hexi. The development of smart driving and smart cockpit has already gone through great changes in three years. SAIC does not want to be a “soul mate” with Huawei. There are many manufacturers who want to do so, including not only independent brands, but also overseas brands. I also began to have the idea of ​​having a cross-border love affair with Huawei.

Recently, car fan Sun Shaojun posted: "One of the three Japanese aunties will use Huawei Smart Driving."

For a time, netizens had different opinions, all discussing which of the three major Japanese car companies (Toyota, Honda, Nissan) would be the first to use "far ahead"?

Although Huawei and the three rumored Japanese car companies have not responded to this rumor, according to the latest report of Tencent News "First Line" on April 7 , Tencent Automobile has learned from people familiar with the matter that Toyota's global model intelligent driving solution will Adopting the "Toyota + Huawei + Momenta" tripartite joint solution model.

In other words, the Japanese car company that will use Huawei smart driving is likely to be Toyota, which ranked first in sales in the world last year.

Toyota teams up with Huawei to develop global smart driving solution

According to Tencent's first-line reports, the smart driving solution Toyota will adopt is different from Huawei's existing ADS high-end assisted driving solution. Toyota has chosen Momenta and Huawei to provide software and hardware solutions respectively, through in-depth three-party cooperation and integration. To implement the solution model.

Judging from this news, Toyota is interested in the hardware solutions provided by Huawei, while the software algorithm part is still provided by Toyota's old partner autonomous driving company Momenta.

"First Line" also mentioned in the report that as early as March 2020, Toyota announced a strategic cooperation with Momenta, announcing that it would provide high-precision maps and update services based on camera vision technology, and jointly promote Toyota's Automated Map Platform (AMP ) business implementation in China.

Then on March 19, 2021, Momenta announced the completion of Series C financing totaling US$500 million. In this round of financing, Toyota participated in the lead investment as one of the strategic investors, which not only provided financial support for Momenta, but also deepened the established a cooperative relationship between the two parties.

As hardware gradually matures, software algorithms have become the most important thing for traditional automobile manufacturers. It is precisely because of the solidification of corporate genes that traditional manufacturers often find it difficult to achieve significant breakthroughs in software and algorithms in the short term. As a result, car companies including Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW will seek external technology partners and invest in each other, using stable shareholdings to promote cooperation, just like autonomous driving companies such as Mobileye and Momenta.

In fact, the cooperation between Huawei and Toyota has already begun, but the two parties had previously only focused on the cockpit field.

The ninth-generation Camry, which has just been launched, uses the new Toyota Space smart cockpit. Its car engine is jointly built by Toyota and Huawei. It is not only equipped with the mainstream Snapdragon 8155 car engine chip and 12+128GB storage combination, but also Equipped with an advanced version of the voice recognition system, it supports voiceprint recognition and face ID recognition functions.

For Huawei, making a smart cockpit is as easy as breathing. The ease of use of the Camry seems to only depend on how many capabilities Toyota is willing to open up to make this car more "Hongmeng". .

Back to smart driving, now the "map-less smart driving" solution that "emphasizes perception and ignores maps" has become the mainstream of the industry. Compared with Momenta's perspective-based high-precision map autonomous driving solution, Huawei's ADS solution has basically gotten rid of the constraints of high-precision maps.

For example, ADS2.0, which was first launched on the Wenjie model, has achieved the NCA smart driving performance of "driving with or without pictures". On the basis that smart driving can be used on highways, elevated roads and expressways across the country, it has further realized the ability to drive in urban areas. NCA function.

On the other hand, the Dongchehui also noticed that as the Ministry of Natural Resources gradually tightened the Class A surveying and mapping qualification for navigation electronic map production, momenta did not pass the review during the surveying and mapping qualification review and renewal period, and therefore also lost its surveying and mapping qualification. High-precision maps that cannot keep up with the trend of the times have therefore been untied by a large number of car companies and have instead invested in the technical route of map-less intelligent driving.

From this perspective, if Toyota wants to develop a commercial smart driving solution that can be implemented in the Chinese market, it will inevitably choose the technical route of mapless smart driving, and perhaps it will have to lower its profile and "give up some of its soul."

This is not the first time a Japanese company has invested in China. Foreign companies are keen to ask Chinese teachers for advice.

Before Toyota chose to cooperate with Huawei, there were many examples of foreign car companies extending olive branches to Chinese car companies.

In July last year, Volkswagen announced a technical framework agreement with Xpeng Motors . In the initial stage of cooperation, the two parties will jointly develop two electric models of the Volkswagen brand for China's mid-size car market. The two new cars will be built on the platform used by Xpeng G9 and are expected to be launched in 2026.

In addition, Volkswagen also chose the usual method of investing and holding shares before promoting cooperation, increasing its investment in Xpeng Motors by approximately US$700 million and acquiring approximately 4.99% of Xpeng Motors' shares (at a price of US$15 per ADS). To convey to the outside world that this is a "solid long-term strategic cooperation" relationship between Volkswagen and Xpeng.

Coincidentally, SAIC, which has maintained a joint venture relationship with Audi, also confirmed that it will jointly develop a pure electric platform with Audi .

For Audi, this choice is inevitable in order to shorten the model development time cycle and research and development costs in the increasingly competitive electric vehicle market.

According to reports from The Paper, the discussions between Audi and SAIC involve intelligent electric vehicle architectures such as three-electric systems, lower bodies, and intelligent driving systems. In fact, the brand owned by SAIC that is more consistent with the temperament of Audi is indeed IM. If all goes well, we should be able to see this smart new car in Audi skin in 2026.

When foreign car companies entered the Chinese market, they used to establish joint ventures to sell cars domestically. But as Chinese car companies take the technological lead in new energy vehicle manufacturing, we are beginning to see the trend of "reverse joint ventures" among Chinese car brands.

In October 2023, Stellantis Group, a global sixth-generation automobile manufacturer, reached a strategic cooperation with Leapmotor . Stellantis Group invested 1.5 billion euros (approximately RMB 11.6 billion) to acquire 20% of the equity of Leapmotor and became a strategic shareholder.

As part of the transaction, Stellantis and Leapmotor plan to jointly form a joint venture "Leapao International" in a 51:49 ratio. Based on this joint venture, Stellantis Group will import, sell and even produce Leap car related products in overseas markets.

Leapmotor, which boasts full-stack self-research, has also taken the technological initiative in strategic cooperation, redefining the "technology-for-market" relationship between Chinese car companies and overseas car companies.

Looking back at Toyota's electrification road, Huawei is actually not their first partner in China. As early as 2022, BYD Toyota Electric Vehicle Technology Co., Ltd., a joint venture between Toyota and BYD, worked with FAW Toyota to develop and launch bZ3 pure electric model.

As a "special model for China", Toyota's bZ3 uses the e-TNGA platform and is equipped with BYD's blade battery and Fudi motor. Since bZ3 directly uses BYD's three-electric technology and is also manufactured by BYD, this car is also called a BYD sedan with a Toyota logo.

From technology imitation, to technology leadership, to technology export

I have always believed that the development trend of China's automobile market actually has many similarities with the development trend of China's mobile phone market.

It’s all a process from foreign imitation, to independent innovation, to leading product exports.

The same is true for Chinese automobiles. From technological imitation in the era of oil trucks to technological export in the era of electric cars, Chinese auto companies have now achieved partial technological leadership at the electronic level.

▲The picture comes from the Russian ideal L9 owner @timelabpro

Around this time last year, the long-lost international A-class auto show "Shanghai Auto Show" was held again, but the protagonists on the center stage became a group of Chinese independent brands. Many multinational car company executives frequently appeared at the booths of Chinese independent brands to visit and learn. . It can be said that Chinese cars have brought a little new energy shock to foreigners.

Mercedes-Benz Chairman Källenius Källenius sat on the DENZA D9 to experience the experience

For example, Källenius Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mercedes-Benz, stopped at the DENZA booth; several Porsche executives visited the BYD exhibition area to view BYD's latest models; executives of ultra-luxury car brands such as Bentley, Ferrari, and Lamborghini also visited the Yangwang booth for inspection.

I still remember that Porsche executives were embarrassed when they saw the Zotye SR9 at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show. Now, a group of foreign company executives see the rapid progress of China's new energy development. Although they are smiling, they may have mixed feelings in their hearts.

In fact, in the past few years, the penetration rate of new energy vehicles in China has rapidly jumped from the industry low of 5% to more than 30%, and is expected to exceed 40% this year. Putting aside the gradually decreasing "state subsidy" factor, the reason is that Chinese automobile companies have a higher thirst for innovation, and market competition has become the most intense in the world.

It can be seen that Chinese automobiles have gradually become the source of inspiration for the global electric vehicle industry. China's new energy vehicles, which are constantly iteratively updated, have become a learning target for major global automobile companies. China's new energy vehicles are leading the trend of change.

Even at the just-concluded 2024 Bangkok International Auto Show in Thailand, BYD ranked second with 5,345 orders, second only to Toyota, which has a long-term local presence, setting a history for Chinese automobile brands.

At the same time, when we look at the entire list, the top six orders are directly divided between Chinese and Japanese car companies – BYD, MG, Changan and Toyota, Honda, and Suzuki have formed a rivalry.

"Seven days in a cave make a thousand years in the world." In terms of three-electric technology, intelligent interconnection, and cabin comfort, China's new energy vehicles are rapidly refreshing the industry's cognitive level.

Whether it is a group of new car-making forces of independent brands, or CATL, which dominates the global power battery market, or even Fuyao Glass, which has made breakthroughs in core technology fields such as key automotive glass molding processes, all prove that there are already many Chinese Enterprises can already be on par with world-class enterprises in terms of global supply chain dominance, key core technologies, and independent intellectual property rights.

Today, 1 in every 10 new energy vehicles in Europe comes from China. It is foreseeable that as the scale of Chinese automobiles going overseas continues to increase, the technological leadership of Chinese automobiles will become more and more obvious.

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