iPhone assembler Foxconn sets up auto arm as Apple car looms


Foxconn, whose main listed arm is Hon Hai Precision Industry, in October unveiled its first-ever EV chassis and a software platform aimed at helping automakers bring models to the market faster. It plans to deliver its first development kit in April, with Hon Hai Chairman Young Liu saying EV-related business in the first half will be “very good”. Meanwhile, Foxconn’s key unit Foxconn Technology is reportedly expanding a plant to develop automotive metal parts.

Earlier this month, Foxconn signed a manufacturing deal with embattled Chinese electric-vehicle startup Byton with the aim to start mass production of the Byton M-Byte by the first quarter of 2022.

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An Apple car would rival electric vehicles from Tesla and offerings from companies such as upstart Lucid Motors and established manufacturers like Daimler and Volkswagen. Setting up a car plant can cost billions of dollars and take years, likely the reason why Apple is talking to potential manufacturing partners.

Apple has continued to investigate building its self-driving car system for a third-party auto partner rather than its own vehicle, the people familiar have said, and the company could ultimately abandon its own car efforts in favour of this approach.

Other technology companies seeking to expand into the autonomous driving space have also sought partnerships. Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo has worked with Chrysler, while Amazon.com has tapped Rivian Automotive for cooperation over delivery vans.

This week, billionaire Li Shufu’s Geely struck a pact with search-engine giant Baidu to set up a venture to make intelligent electric vehicles.

Li, who is also Daimler’s largest shareholder, has championed partnerships and consolidation as a way for automakers to pool resources for initiatives like self-driving cars and electrification. He’s built a global carmaking empire over the past two decades, securing stakes in European legacy brands such as Lotus as well as investing in Malaysian auto company Proton.

Bloomberg



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