Technology group Foxconn has unveiled its first electric cars, a feat that could cement the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer’s credentials as a serious bidder for Apple’s secret automobile project.
The SUV and sedan models introduced Monday are vehicles the company plans to build for customers rather than sell under its own brand. Executives including Young Liu, president of Hon Hai Precision Industry, the main unit of Foxconn, unveiled the vehicles at a Technology Day event in Taipei.
Foxconn is the largest iPhone aggregator, giving it an edge as a potential partner in Apple’s auto industry, as the US company considers expanding into the electric car segment. As part of its aggressive push into cars, Foxconn in late September agreed to spend $280 million to buy an Ohio car plant from start-up Lordstown Motors.
“We are no longer the new kid in town,” Liu said. “We have gradually built a supply chain for electric vehicles and introduced our devices,” Bloomberg reported.
Lillian Chen, president of Yulon Motor, said at the Taipei event that the Taiwanese company would be Foxconn’s first customer. Liu noted that Foxconn’s Yulon electric car will sell for less than NT$1 million ($35,700). Foxconn also showcased its own electric bus, which will be delivered to the local transportation provider next year.
Foxconn is among the technology companies targeting electric vehicles as a source of growth beyond the assembly of low-margin electronics. Carrie Liu, a Citigroup analyst, wrote in a recent note that the Ohio deal is a boon to Foxconn, giving it assembly capacity, equipment and talent.
Liu said the company is about to locate a car factory in Europe.
The Apple car would be the ultimate prize for any aspiring electric vehicle manufacturer, and Foxconn’s advantage lies in its strong relationship with the US consumer electronics giant, as the years-long partnership has expanded with Apple adding categories of products, and the company now accounts for about 50% of Foxconn’s annual sales. .
The “Apple Car” project is still years away, as the company has suffered setbacks, including the recent departure of the project’s head to Ford Motor Company, and the company has not publicly disclosed anything about its project.