Checking In With Faraday Future, America's Worst Automaker

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
checking in with faraday future americas worst automaker

Faraday Future’s summer fling with Chinese real estate group Evergrande, which invested $800 million into the company last June, appears to be over. The “automaker” is allegedly trying to back out of its arrangement after its CEO and founder, Jia Yueting, requested an additional $700 million in funding. The official deal calls for another $1.2 billion over the next two years.

Faraday has a real knack for screwing over anyone who lends it any kind of financial help, and it looks like its biggest investor doesn’t want to get burned. As a result, the carmaker wants out and Jia has begun seeking arbitration to abandon the sale.

So far as we know, Evergrande stipulated that the company had to hand over its intellectual property and begin mass production of the FF91 before year’s end — otherwise Jia will be ousted as CEO. Officially, Faraday says it’s on track for December deliveries, but all we’ve actually seen are a few side panels being passed around by robots and one completed shell. Meanwhile, the manufacturer’s only completed pre-production prototype was reported to have caught fire last month, following an event where it was shown to employees and their families.

Pardon my editorializing, but Faraday Future has to be either the world’s worst automaker or its most elaborate scam. Its entire history is riddled with broken promises, squandered funds, and relentless failure. Last year, I called the company a masterpiece of non-fulfillment. I’m starting to think I was overly generous.

Following its mysterious and semi-shady arrival in 2014, Faraday has managed to showcase a car that failed to work as promised in front of a crowd at CES, betray the trust of an entire state, neglect the payment of numerous contractors, have its primary financial backer and CEO declare bankruptcy and flee his home country due to unpaid debs, lose a large portion of its workforce, and repeatedly push back production deadlines on a car that doesn’t even exist.

It would take ages to recap its complete, pathetic history. But we wanted to give you a quick refresher on its past before we checked back in on the present — which you’ll be shocked to learn isn’t looking too good.

According to Reuters, Evergrande officials claim Jia blew through the $800 million and asked for another $700 million to ensure production of the FF91. However, Jia says the real estate giant agreed to make two payments, and he’s only trying to get what’s been promised before the end-of-year production deadline rolls around. There are also reports that some of the company’s vendors have stopped receiving payments, which is a familiar story with Faraday.

A filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange from Evergrande alleges that Jia essentially lied to its board to procure funding and has withdrawn from the business arrangement he made with them. The firm says it will take “all necessary action” to protect itself and its shareholders. We’d recommend constructing a time machine and sending someone back to stop the deal from ever being made.

Still, proving that Faraday abandoned its goal of building electric vehicles before 2019 will be difficult. Progress, thus far, has been abysmal, but sources hint it’s because all of the money went into retooling Faraday’s factory in Hanford, California, of which it has temporary occupancy. This is supposedly why some suppliers are still owed payments (some of which are said to be over $1 million) and why Jia asked for the $700 million.

Besides, the factory is still operational and Jia doesn’t appear to have skipped town holding a satchel of cash. He was present for the company’s “Futurist Day,” where the prototype FF91 caught fire. According to The Verge, employees signed non-disclosure agreements specifically related to the fire, so we don’t know exactly what happened.

Any attempts to piece this giant puzzle together requires a lot of speculation. Did Evergrande get cold feet after seeing how quickly Faraday could burn through funds, or is Jia simply trying to protect the company’s long-term aspirations and his role as CEO? Was the $700 million advance paid or not? How is it that Faraday still owes money to vendors it should have paid back in 2016? Who is supplying this 130-kWh battery and ultra-powerful motor the FF91 is supposed to contain? Are there even confirmed specs for the vehicle?

If you’re hoping any of those answers will reveal themselves before 2019, I’m guessing you’ll be disappointed. Based on Faraday’s current progress, or lack thereof, I’m willing to bet the company fails to deliver a single model in December. That’s not to say it’s impossible, just that it makes sense to play the odds.

[Image: Faraday Future]

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Oct 12, 2018

    Did not Henry Ford had the same problem? He was kicked out from own company by investors.

  • Ermel Ermel on Oct 14, 2018

    "I’m willing to bet the company fails to deliver a single model in December." I'll up you one and claim: Nor in 2019. Maybe in Faraway Future, but I'm not betting they'll *ever* deliver a car to a customer.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion:
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?