Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., is moving into the automobile industry in a substantial way. The company acquired the old GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio from Lordstown Motors, and it already showed off three in-house design prototype EVs designed for the U.S. market in 2021.
The Lordstown site will be the home factory for the eponymous Lordstown Endurance electric pickup truck. Foxconn has begun building Endurance trucks for customer deliveries, and plans to deliver the first pilot production examples to customers before the end of 2022.
Further, both Foxconn and Fisker Inc. have confirmed the upcoming Fisker PEAR (Personal Electric Automotive Revolution) will be manufactured at the Lordstown facility beginning in 2024, with a planned output of 250,000 vehicles per year. Fisker has announced a starting price of $29,990 for the PEAR, and that’s before any incentives have been applied.
Negotiations with VW in America
Now Reuters is quoting a report from German automobile magazine Automobilwoche that Foxconn is in conversation with Volkswagen about a proposal to manufacture the company’s Scout line of EVs at Lordstown. VW acquired the rights to the old International Harvester Scout name when it purchased Navistar, a successor corporation to IH, in 2020.
In May 2022, Volkswagen announced a decision to set up a separate company, building on the iconic Scout brand, to develop and manufacture a “true American” electric rugged SUV and pickup brand in the U.S.
The German company already manufactures its ID.4 electric SUV in Chattanooga, Tennessee. VW tapped veteran executive Scott Keogh to lead the Scout development effort. The new subsidiary plans to begin marketing EV SUVs and pickups in America under the Scout name no later than 2026.
Building cars in Saudi Arabia
In addition to its investments and contracts in America, Foxconn is also pursuing EV production capacity around the world. Ceer is a new brand developed as a joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s government-managed Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Foxconn. Ceer will design and manufacture vehicles in Saudi Arabia, with sales beginning in 2025.
The joint venture has hired James DeLuca as CEO. DeLuca was the first CEO of Vietnamese car manufacturer VinFast, after leading General Motors’ global manufacturing effort, managing 171 plants in 31 countries. The new Ceer plant will cover more than 1 million square meters at the King Abdullah Economic City and port near Jeddah on the Red Sea coast.
“Saudi Arabia recognizes the importance of the automotive sector when it comes to economic growth and job creation, and I am looking forward to shaping Ceer into a car brand that is admired by both Saudi consumers as well as the wider industry,” DeLuca said.
Yulon EVs in Taiwan
Foxconn has not neglected its home market in Taiwan either. The company unveiled a new SUV in October to be built in Taiwan and marketed under the Taiwanese Yulon brand name. The five-seat compact SUV is expected to begin sales in 2023 with a 440-mile range.
Yulon and its luxury sub-brand Luxgen have been in business since the 1940s, assembling vehicles for larger automakers such as Nissan, but they are looking to Foxconn to move into the EV space.
With efforts underway around the world, Foxconn is clearly aiming to claim a prime seat at the EV market table. The company has made no secret of its ambitious plan to capture 5% market share in EVs by the end of 2025.
Foxconn has a stated goal to produce 500,000-750,000 EVs per year by that time. With the large-scale efforts underway at Lordstown, Taiwan and in Saudi Arabia, there should be no doubt that the company is serious about that goal. S