SAIC has no intention to build cars with Huawei

Nuying Huang, Taipei; Yusin Hu, DIGITIMES Asia 0

As a top player in the car supply chain, Huawei has established partnerships with many Chinese carmakers. However, one of the biggest carmakers in China, SAIC Motor, has said it has no intention to work with Huawei on building "soulless" automobiles.

The "BAT" giants (Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent) used to the key players in the development of autonomus driving vehicles in China, but Huawei has now been makign aggressive moves for future cars, leveraging its ICT tech prowess. Huawei is selling a business model where car vendors only need to design body of the vehicle and handle of after-sales service and marketing, while Huawei takes care of the systems of the car. Several vendors are working under this so-called "Huawei Inside (HI)" business model, such as BAW's ARCFOX, and some ongoing projects with Changan Auto and GAC Group.

But SAIC is resisting such partnerships with Huawei, which it says would only turn SAIC into "a body without a soul." Huawei has responded by saying Huawei Inside partnerships are not suitable for all carmakers.

SAIC has a long history working with Volkswagen and General Motors, and thus has a bigger advantage than other traditional carmakers in developing their own car-use software and systems. Carmakers who have an edge in ICT and can shift painless to building smart cars include Bosch, Continental, Toyota and Volkswagen.

However, it's common for carmakers to turn to tech companies. Renault, Nissan, and FCA have taken that path for practical reasons, such as concerns over capital, technology, or profitability. Working with tech companies means carmakers will have more options. Android's breakthrough operating system for cars, AAOS, is one of the defining features to build smart cockpits. In China, there are Xiaodu OS from Baidu, Alios from Alibaba, and Harmony OS from Huawei.