Taiwan's Hon Hai Technology Group — better known as Foxconn, manufacturer of the Apple iPhone — appears to be edging closer to entering the auto industry after signing a deal with Fisker Inc. to build a high-volume electric car with a price tag starting under $30,000.
The deal calls for Fisker Inc., of California, to design the vehicle and then hand it off to Foxconn to assemble at a plant in the U.S. No manufacturing locations were announced Thursday. Production is projected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Foxconn has a U.S. presence in Mount Pleasant, Wis. In 2017, it announced plans with great fanfare to invest $10 billion to build LCD displays there and create 13,000 jobs, but in April it scaled back its plans to $672 million and about 1,454 jobs. It is still unclear what will be built there, according to PBS Wisconsin.
Fisker refers to the vehicle as Project PEAR — Personal Electric Automotive Revolution. It will be conventional in the sense that it will have four wheels and seat five passengers. Fisker is planning to launch its first vehicle, the Ocean electric crossover, about 18 months from now.
In February, Fisker and Foxconn agreed to talk about working together, Fisker spokesman Simon Sproule told Automotive News. Thursday's agreement, he said, now commits the companies to investing money and manpower in the project. Sproule said they will work together to source parts from suppliers.
Fisker intends to show the production-intent Ocean at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The news comes as Wall Street's enthusiasm for startup EV companies appears to be waning. Fisker's stock peaked at $31.96 per share on March 2. Still, it did get a bump from this announcement, and shares rose 5.5 percent to close at $10.50 on Friday.