By on May 12, 2022

Image: GM

Best known for manufacturing small electronic devices for companies around the world, Foxconn will soon be branching out to assemble automobiles in Ohio. On Wednesday, the Taiwanese Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (traded as Foxconn) closed on a deal with Lordstown Motors to purchase a 6.2 million-square-foot plant that used to belong to General Motors.

The $230 million deal leaves Foxconn with the facility and 400 Lordstown manufacturing employees it’s supposed to use to assemble the delayed Endurance pickup. Though the long-term plan is to use the plant to become a contract manufacturer akin to Magna Steyr, with an emphasis on all-electric vehicles.  

Despite Foxconn taking over production, Lordstown Motors is remain responsible for vehicle development, parts sourcing, testing protocols, regulatory homologation, and sales. Though the arrangement is slightly confusing, the Taiwanese firm plans to invest $100 million in a joint venture to engineer new EVs with Lordstown based on its own “Mobility-in-Harmony” (MIH) program.

Foxconn calls MIH an “open ecosystem” and has encouraged just about every entity in the automotive sector to work with it in developing a new platform that “provides an environment where all the major functions of an EV such as chassis, batteries, ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), cyber security, cloud connectivity, BMS (Battery Management System), and many more can be developed onto.”

Lordstown CEO Dan Ninivaggi explained to that the deal gives his company scale — something it had been fretting over since Endurance delays began in 2020. By partnering with the world’s largest provider of electronics manufacturing services, the Ohio-based EV startup believes it can ease supply chain issues, save itself some money in the long run, and finally get some vehicles rolling out of the factory.

“The key theme in the entire transaction with Foxconn if it gives us a more flexible and less capital intensive business model,” he said.

Subsequent interviews have shown that Ninivaggi feels confident that Lordstown is in a strong position in every respect but one. However, that’s supposed to be resolved now that help has arrived from overseas — partially anyway.

“We have about 250 engineers, product development people mostly in Farmington Hills [Mich.] and Irvine [Calif.]. We have purchasing, quality, everything but manufacturing,” The CEO told Automotive News.

From AN:

The injection of cash from the deal might not be enough to ensure production of the Endurance begins on schedule this fall, Ninivaggi said. The company is working to raise an additional $150 million so it can keep its planned third-quarter start of limited production.

Lordstown this week reported its first-quarter loss narrowed to $89.6 million from a loss of $125.2 million a year earlier. It had a cash balance of $204 million, compared with $587 million a year earlier. It had received $200 million in down payments for its assets from Foxconn.

Even if Lordstown ends up folding, the facility already has other EV startups on the hook. Fisker is taking deposits for an affordable, high-volume EV it’s calling the Pear and leadership has stated that the model will be built at the facility in Lordstown, Ohio. There’s also been some speculation that Apple may finally move on Project Titan, leveraging its deep ties with Foxconn to finally build an all-electric vehicle that’s allegedly been in development since 2014.

It’s just fortunate that the factory doesn’t have a lot of high windows. Foxconn has unfortunately developed a bit of a reputation for labor violations in China after its highly publicized installation of suicide nets at a Shenzen iPhone factory. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. has likewise been faulted with withholding payment, ignoring safety training, and employing far more workers than Chinese labor laws allow. This is particularly unsettling due to the limited nature of protections the nation allows for employees and the sustained nature of these accusations. Foxconn and Apple have even been faulted for knowingly benefiting from forced labor (slavery) supported by the Chinese government. But they’re just one of several multinational businesses (including some automakers) carrying that stain on their portfolio at this point.

[Image: General Motors]

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21 Comments on “Foxconn Officially Buys Lordstown Assembly...”

  • avatar

    Same Foxconn that ran this scam?

    Sounds like two companies that were made for each other. Good luck, fellas.

    • 0 avatar
      kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh

      You beat me to it .. yes it is .. this just another tax scam where lawyers and investors and politicians exchange change money and no real product or jobs exist.

      • 0 avatar

        There are actually any number of instances of this kind of arrangement actually working (which is why they keep happening). But this one most definitely didn’t.

        “The Verge” ran a whole series about the Foxconn fiasco…it’s great reading.

        • 0 avatar

          They just published an interview with the former Foxconn executive that was in charge of the project; it is *fascinating* reading, and an excellent interview by The Verge.

          They pulled no punches with this guy; I don’t know exactly what he was expecting, but I don’t think he got it. He’s clearly full to the brim with B.S., and they called him out on every point of it.

          These guys should give other media outlets lessons on interviewing! If I see another creampuff interview of a politician or corporate flack, it’ll be too soon.

  • avatar

    There are no words in the english language to properly capture the absolute disaster that was the Scott Walker administration.

    • 0 avatar

      There’s a reason he was widely seen as a presidential candidate, until suddenly he opened his mouth and people actually heard him talk, and then his numbers dropped like a rock into oblivion.

      • 0 avatar

        I always thought he and Josh “Insurrection Fist Pump Bro” Hawley were separated at birth.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        “Oh but he was a regular guy who brought a loose meat sandwich for lunch to work with him every day”.
        A number of political writers have referred to him as the Koch brothers Midwest division.
        The Wisconsin of Doyle, Feingold, Tommy Thompson, Gene McCarthy, Proxmire and Gaylord Nelson was a far more amenable place with a lot less resentment and folks at each other’s throats. Well there was Joe McCarthy.

        • 0 avatar

          Skillful Democrats convince people they’re on their side by criticizing the economics of elites.

          Skillful Republicans convince people they’re on their side by criticizing the culture of elites.

          Scott Walker managed to convince everyone in both camps, with phenomenal effectiveness, that he was firmly on the side of the elites.

    • 0 avatar

      Absolute disaster? Foxconn was not his finest hour, but the state is still reaping the benefits of Act 10 which restricted collective bargaining by public employee unions. The usual suspects on the left were apoplectic and tried to recall him, but the voters didn’t seem to think Armageddon was at hand. He survived the recall and then won reelection.

  • avatar

    This isn’t all bad news – if you work for a company that installs life saving netting around buildings, this is an opportunity to install the suicide prevention netting successfully used in China.

    Can’t have workers plunging to their deaths because they can’t take it anymore. They’ve got stuff to build. Chop chop.

  • avatar
    Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

    …and Wisconsin is going to pay for it?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Lordstown, Fisker, and Apple… may as well add Elio Motors and call it the “Foxconn Four Con”.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Lordstown Assembly should be nuked from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure they don’t ever start cranking out Vegas again.

  • avatar

    Yeah, Fisker. Heh, heh. The well-known truthteller whose design of an Aston Martin tail-light in 1995 led to him claiming he did the whole car. Obsessed with one day being acclaimed as the true genius he fancies himself, you have to award him an A for neverending effort and ability to talk genius-grade investors into handing him bucketloads of free cash. Over on C/D, he’s quoted as promising his new Fisker PEAR EV crossover will start at $29,900 for the ’25 model year, assembled by FoxConn at Lordstown and made at a rate of “minimum 250,000 a year”.

    Right. That’ll leave plenty of floor space to assemble all those other disparate vehicles, the millions of Apple Cores and other assorted flotsam and jetsam.

    And of course, the cure for any roof-jumping would-be suicides is to build a factory below grade, so that the windows open at ground level.

  • avatar

    6.2 million square feet divided by 400 employees means each person has 15,500 square feet of space to spread out in. Is this the first Inherently Socially Distanced manufacturing plant in history?

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