Jeramey Jannene

Foxconn Picks Ohio Over Wisconsin

Company will buy former GM factory to build electric vehicles.

By - Oct 1st, 2021 09:30 am
Foxconn. Photo by Dave Reid.

Foxconn. Photo by Dave Reid.

Wisconn Valley, as Foxconn’s mostly vacant Racine County manufacturing plant is known, will not become an electric vehicle manufacturing center. At least not for now.

The contract manufacturer announced Thursday that it will build electric vehicles in Ohio for startups Fisker and Lordstown at a former General Motors factory.

Taiwan-based Foxconn, as first reported by Bloomberg, will buy Lordstown Motors Corp‘s factory in Lordstown, Ohio. The electric truck startup announced a deal in late 2019 to buy the 6.2-million-square-foot plant, which GM operated from 1966 to March 2019.

Foxconn, as the company confirmed, will now buy the plant for $230 million from Lordstown, which has yet to manufacture a vehicle. The purchase does not include Lordstown’s hub motor assembly line, battery module and packing line assets.

The manufacturer will use the facility to construct Lordstown’s Endurance full-size pickup truck, while leasing a portion back to Lordstown. Foxconn will also manufacture a five-passenger electric car, currently known as Project PEAR, for California-based Fisker Inc. at the plant. Production, according to Foxconn, would start by the end of 2023.

“We have high expectations through this partnership that we will be able to successfully integrate our resources with Lordstown Motors. In addition to achieving the goal of moving ahead our timeline to establish electric vehicle production capacity in North America, it also reflects Foxconn’s flexibility in providing design and production services for different EV customers,” said Foxconn chairman Young Liu in a statement. “This mutually beneficial relationship is an important milestone for Foxconn’s EV business and our transformation strategy. I believe that the innovative design of the Endurance pickup truck, with its unique hub motors, delivers an advantageous user experience and has manufacturing efficiencies. It will undoubtedly thrive under our partnership and business model.”

Foxconn will also buy approximately $50 million worth of Lordstown stock as part of the agreement. In three years, it would have an option to buy up to 1.7 million more shares for $10.50 per share (the stock opened Friday at $8.79 per share and is currently trading at $7.23). GM also owns 7.5 million shares of Lordstown stock.

Lordstown is subject to a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation after founder and then-CEO Steve Burns made misstatements about the number of preorders. The company has also warned of a cash shortage. Burns misstatements occurred at the same time in September 2020 that President Donald Trump unveiled the conceptual vehicle at the White House. The president, who criticized GM for closing the plant and took partial credit for the Lordstown deal, said the area around the plant was “booming now,” a fact disputed by Associated Press.  He also called Foxconn’s proposed Wisconsin campus the “eighth wonder of the world” at its 2018 groundbreaking.

The agreement between Foxconn and Lordstown is non-binding and not finalized.

“The partnership would allow Lordstown Motors to take advantage of Foxconn’s extensive manufacturing expertise and cost-efficient supply chain, while freeing up Lordstown Motors to focus on bringing the Endurance to market, developing service offerings for our fleet customers and designing and developing innovative new vehicle models,” said Lordstown CEO Daniel Ninivaggi in a statement.

Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker, in August, expressed concern with having his vehicle manufactured in Wisconsin when the company wouldn’t be legally able to sell it directly to consumers. A 1930s law requires manufacturers to sell vehicles through a dealership. Ohio has a similar restriction.

The Ohio deal leaves open the question of what exactly is happening with Foxconn’s Wisconsin facilities?

“While initial electric vehicle production takes place in Lordstown, Foxconn’s assets in Wisconsin will continue to serve as a potential location for additional investment for Foxconn’s electric vehicle growth in the United States and continue to be the location for data infrastructure hardware and information and communication technology production,” said the company in a statement. It has built four buildings on its campus, including a globe-shaped data center.

In April, Foxconn accepted a renegotiated agreement with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation that cut its potential tax credit award from $2.85 billion to $80 million. In exchange, Foxconn’s hiring and investment targets were cut from 13,000 employees and $10 billion invested to 1,454 workers and $672 million invested. The new agreement also struck the requirement for Foxconn to build a Generation 10.5 LCD manufacturing facility, something the company abandoned shortly after the proposal was first announced in 2017. The credits remain refundable, effectively a cash payment award to the company.

And regardless of what is built on Foxconn’s campus, a $791 million tax incremental financing district remains.

The State of Wisconsin remains on the hook for at least 40% of the local infrastructure costs if Foxconn walks away from an agreement with local governments to pay property taxes based on the original estimated value of its Mount Pleasant manufacturing campus. That agreement would allow Racine County and the Village of Mount Pleasant to recoup costs associated with the tax incremental financing district used to build local roads, sewer and water infrastructure. Foxconn is scheduled to start paying at least $31 million annually in property taxes in 2023, regardless of its actual property assessment.

Utility ratepayers are also committed to paying back $117 million in infrastructure costs, plus interest, on a substation and high-voltage power lines serving the campus.

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Categories: Real Estate, Weekly

8 thoughts on “Foxconn Picks Ohio Over Wisconsin”

  1. Johnstanbul says:

    Hahahahaha

  2. NieWiederKrieg says:

    Foxconn will use Wisconsin taxpayer money to buy the Lordstown Motors Corp‘s factory in Ohio….

    Is there any way that we can sue Scott Walker or arrest him for stealing our taxpayer dollars and giving it to Foxconn?

  3. kaygeeret says:

    My god…it just gets worse doesn’t it?

    WI Repubs should be the laughing stock of the country for being a bunch of rubes outsmarted by a mediocre company with a long history of breaking promises.

    Why aren’t a number of people in jail?

    Just embarrassing and stupidly expensive for the taxpayers of WI.

    Seems to be the repubs MO…..charge every stupid thing they can think of to the poor saps who still pay taxes.

  4. ringo muldano says:

    rCons are are tragically bad for Wisconsin and terrible at business. They are really good at flights of fantasy and tax avoidance scams for the already wealthy, aka “job creators” that only recently have begun to nominally raise wages after 40 years of trickle down bs.

    Dems need to pound the crap out these phony hypocrites over the foxxCon deal everyday and everywhere. Paul Ryan, the Donald, Walker, Kleefisch, Vos and anyone with an (R) can suck it. Talk about entitlement? Honestly don’t know how they F’d up so bad.

  5. Dan Hulbert says:

    Shouldn”t having “con” in their corporate name been a red flag?

  6. rubiomon@gmail.com says:

    Hope our neighbors in Ohio keep their hands on their wallets- Fox-scam is in town!

  7. Douglas Johnson says:

    Good luck Lordstown! If FOXCONN is anything like it has been in Wisconsin, with it’s failure to honor contracts, it’s false promises, it’s ever changing game plan, etc., again good luck Lordstown! Will your taxpayers be on the hook and how much in tax incentives did you have to shell out?

  8. ringo muldano says:

    It’s got to suck to be a Mount Pleasant office holder that went along for this nonsense. Forcing landowners off their property for a nothing burger while sticking state taxpayers for a 40% share on a TIF. Meanwhile, Rebecca Kleefisch washes her hair, blow drys it, puts on her makeup, gets covid and cashes checks.

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