Foxconn says it has entered an agreement to build electric vehicles for the startup automaker, Fisker, though it remains unclear if production will take place at the Taiwanese conglomerate's embattled facility in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin.
The companies announced in a joint statement Wednesday they had entered into a temporary agreement to develop an electric vehicle. The agreement states Foxconn would build more than 250,000 of these vehicles every year, with production to begin in the 4th quarter of 2023. The vehicles would be sold in North America, Europe, China, and India.
But the companies did not state, following the development of the vehicle, where it would be produced.
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Foxconn originally planned to build a Gen 10. 5 LCD facility to produce large screens in Mount Pleasant after former Gov. Scott Walker offered more than $3 billion in tax incentives. But that project was scaled back to a Gen. 6 factory to build smaller screens for phones, TVs, and tablets.
Since then, Foxconn has faced criticism for not holding up to its promise of creating 13,000 local jobs as local and state governments spent hundreds of millions of dollars to usher in what was initially seen as a possible manufacturing resurgence in the state.
And then last October, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. announced Foxconn did not qualify for the $4 billion in local and state tax incentives. The WED concluded the company did not hire enough employees or make enough investments in the Mount Pleasant facility, per the agreement the company signed with former Gov. Walker.
Foxconn contends it has hired more than 530 full-time employees and invested $750 million at the facility.
The agreement with California-based Fisker would mark Foxconn's first foray into the production of vehicles. Foxconn is the world's largest contract maker of electronics and a large supplier of iPhones.
“The Fisker and Foxconn partnership brings together two global leaders in innovation that will join forces to unlock the potential of the electric vehicle industry,” said Foxconn Technology
Group Chairman, Young-way Liu, in the statement. “Foxconn's participation in the electric vehicle industry delivers a refreshing thrust into the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry that is already focused on this exciting sector."
Wisconsin, while not known for its automotive industry, did host the American Motors Corporation's plant in Kenosha. That plant closed in the late 1980s after Chrysler bought the company. GM also used to operate an auto plant in Janesville.