This piece has been updated.
Lordstown Motor Co. may sell the eponymous plant it was founded to save. Bloomberg News reports the electric truck manufacturing company is nearing an agreement to sell its Lordstown, Ohio plant—the former site of a General Motors assembly plant—to Foxconn Technology Group.
Foxconn signed a deal with Fisker in May this year to help develop and produce electric cars by 2023 under the name Project PEAR. The deal may allow Foxconn and Lordstown to help accelerate each others’ paths to production by manufacturing vehicles in the same factory, defraying costs.
“We welcome the news from Foxconn,” wrote Andrew de Lara, executive VP of DRIVEN260, Fisker’s strategic communications partner. “Achieving key program objectives such as time to market, access to a well-developed supplier ecosystem and overall cost targets were all important factors in the decision to locate manufacturing in Ohio.”
That would be something of a godsend for Lordstown, which intends to begin delivering its Endurance pickup trucks by 2022 but is struggling financially after losing its founder to an investigation into misleading pre-order reports. Lordstown Motors’ founder, Steve Burns, resigned from the company in June after a short seller alleged the company’s pre-order numbers were inflated, leading to investigations from the SEC and Justice Department.
In August, Lordstown said it still sought to begin production of vehicles soon enough to start delivering them to customers by the first quarter of 2022, but lacked enough funding to do so. Later that month, the company appointed a replacement CEO, Daniel Ninivaggi. In an interview with Bloomberg, Ninivaggi said he was “exploring a number of alternatives” for “maximizing the value of the Lordstown facility.”
The involvement of Foxconn might give pause to those who recall the fiasco of the Taiwanese tech company’s operations in Wisconsin. After originally announcing in 2017 it would spend $10 billion and hire 13,000 people for a TV plant in Wisconsin in exchange for $2.85 billion in tax credits, Foxconn renegotiated twice after missing hiring and investment targets. As of April, that deal has been reduced to $80 million in tax credits for hiring about 1,500 and investing $672 million in the state.