Foxconn will launch its own electric car brand

Business & Technology

Taiwanese giant Foxconn is launching a new line of electric vehicles, as the Apple supplier aims to build itself into a premium car brand.

Image via Foxconn

iPhone assembler Foxconn has announced plans to begin pre-orders for its Model C SUV (priced at under $36,000) on October 18 — Foxconn’s Tech Day. The cars will be delivered in the first half of next year.

  • Last October, the Taiwanese conglomerate revealed three prototype EVs: an SUV (Model C), a sedan (Model E), and a bus (Model T), all under the new “Foxtron” brand name.
  • The iPhone maker’s Model E will begin mass production in 2024 and the electric bus Model T has now begun trial runs in southern Taiwan.
  • Foxconn has spent a year building up for an aggressive foray into the automotive sector, a strategic effort to pivot away from phones and consumer electronics into premium goods like EVs. “Foxconn is ready and no longer the new kid in town,” said the chairman, Young Liu (刘英威 Liú Yīngwēi), in October.

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The context: Foxconn is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer with clients such as Apple, Intel, and Sharp. In 2016, it partnered with Tencent and luxury-car dealer Harmony New Energy Auto, to found EV startup Byton. The joint venture flopped, but its EV ambitions have only grown since, as the company continues to build up a network of partners in Europe, India, and Latin America.

  • Foxconn’s ambitions dovetail with its main client, Apple, and its own car ambitions. Analysts have suggested those links could help Foxconn secure Apple’s vehicle manufacturing business, the knowledge of which can then be applied to its own business.
  • In rapid succession over the course of the past year, Foxconn has struck deals to buy an Ohio factory, partner with the European car brand Stellantis, and manufacture cars for the Los Angeles–based EV startup Fisker.

The key question: After years of working in the shadow of the world’s greatest electronics companies, Foxconn is seeking to break out of its manufacturing shell and build its own consumer-facing brand.

Can Foxconn make up for its lack of experience in IP development and marketing with its process-driven efficiencies and its manufacturing process and build a world-class car brand?