- Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics company that is one of the main manufacturers of Apple’s iPhone, plans to enter the automotive space with the Foxtron Model B.
- The full reveal of the Model B is coming on October 18, but Foxconn has already given a good look at the exterior design of the hatchback that Pininfarina wrote about.
- Initial production of the Model B will take place in China next year, but the company says the hatchback will be built at Foxconn’s Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant starting in 2024.
You may be familiar with the Foxconn name, but you definitely know its biggest product: the Taiwanese electronics company is one of the leading iPhone manufacturers. The company is also looking to expand into the automotive space. In 2021, Foxconn bought the Lordstown assembly plant in Ohio from struggling EV startup Lordstown Motors. Now Foxconn has given its first look at a new electric hatchback, the Foxtron Model B, which is planned to be built in the United States.
Foxconn has so far provided little information about the Model B, with the EV set to fully launch on October 18. You may have noticed that the brand name associated with the Model B is not Foxconn, but Foxtron—the vehicle is part of a joint venture between the electronics maker and Yulon Motor, Taiwan’s largest automaker that has built Nissan under license for decades and also created the brand. myself, Luxgen.
While Foxconn is tight-lipped about the specs, the video showcases the Model B’s design, written by Italian design house Pininfarina. This compact car features large, flashy wheels pushed out of corners, while the front and rear ends are dominated by full-width LED light bars. The subtle bodywork is accentuated by the stylish C-pillar, and a unique feature in the taillights appears to display images to communicate with pedestrians.
The Model B will use Foxconn’s open-source MiH platform—which stands for Mobility in Harmony. This platform will also support two additional models previously revealed by Foxconn, the Model C, a larger crossover, and the Model E, a luxury sedan. The platform supports single and dual motor setups, and Foxconn claims a range of 435 miles for the Model C and 466 miles for the Model E.
Foxconn initially aimed to start building the Model B in China in 2023, but will eventually start production of the vehicle in 2024 at the Lordstown plant, which previously produced the Chevy Cruze. It’s unclear whether the Model B will be offered in the US. The plant is apparently configured to produce 500,000 vehicles per year, and Foxconn plans to also build the upcoming Pear Lordstown Endurance and Fisker crossovers at the plant under contract as well.
While it would be great to see the factory up and running again, we remain skeptical of Foxconn’s ability to follow through on its automotive ambitions. Foxconn previously promised to invest $10 billion in a large display panel manufacturing plant in the small town of Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, initially touting the creation of 13,000 jobs and production starting in 2020. Five years later, only a few buildings have been completed, few have been produced, and investment has been reduced to $672 million with only 1454 new jobs.
The Lordstown plant also relies on unproven automotive startups. The Fisker Pear, for example, is only rendering shadows at this stage. While Lordstown Motors has now building the first two Endurance pickups at the Ohio plant—the first of an initial batch of 500 vehicles to be delivered in 2022 and 2023—the company’s past financial struggles have kept its longevity in question. Foxconn previously aimed to help build the EV from Chinese startup Byton, but that failed plan when Byton ran out of funds. Hopefully the same fate does not befall Fisker and Lordstown Motors, but Foxconn’s automotive future remains unclear.
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