Lordstown to sell Ohio plant to Foxconn in $280 million deal; U.S. loan will be sought

Foxconn, meanwhile, is hoping to replicate its smartphone success by building clients’ electric vehicles from the chassis up. It’s rapidly expanding its EV business as major tech companies from Apple to Xiaomi Corp. invest heavily in technologies for next-generation mobility. Over the past year, the Taiwanese company has launched an open EV platform, inked a manufacturing deal with Fisker and formed a partnership with Thailand’s state-owned conglomerate PTT Pcl.

Earlier this year, Chairman Young Liu of Foxconn’s flagship unit, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., said the company was considering creating an EV manufacturing facility in Wisconsin as its first U.S. automotive outpost. With Foxconn bulking up its automotive muscle, it’s seen as a contender in the race to make EVs for Apple.

The company has had a controversial history of bringing its manufacturing capabilities to the U.S. It originally committed to investing $10 billion in a Wisconsin facility in exchange for billions of dollars in possible subsidies, a project championed by then-President Trump. That vision was never realized, and Liu said earlier this year he’s trying to figure out what to make at the location.

Foxconn will rely on Ohio as its main EV manufacturing base in North America, while the company will still continue to invest in Wisconsin as a key site for tech products, according to a person familiar with the plans.

One of the projects Foxconn will build at the Lordstown plant is Fisker’s Project Pear, which stands for Personal Electric Automotive Revolution, company CEO Henrik Fisker said in an interview. That model is scheduled to start production in the first quarter of 2024 with a minimum planned production of 150,000 vehicles a year, eventually scaling up to 250,000 annually, he said.

Fisker’s CEO said he doesn’t want to reveal too much about the design of his company’s Project Pear except to say that it will target young urban dwellers and sell at a starting price under $30,000.

“It doesn’t have a normal trunk or hatch,” he said. “It’s basically trying to come up with a really cool vehicle that could excite the new generation of buyers, but it fits in their lifestyle and budget. It would take people out of a Toyota Prius or BMW X1.”

Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.

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