Can Foxconn make cars as successful as OEM mobile phones?

Electric vehicles are not as simple as “the iPhone on four wheels”.

On this year’s Hon Hai Technology Day, Terry Gou, the founder of Hon Hai Group, drove an electric car to the scene.

Accompanied by the BGM of “Happy Birthday” and the applause of the audience, the host announced the three new cars that have been warmed up for a long time – Model E, Model C and Model T.

Yes, the new car adopts the same naming method as Tesla.

Guo Taiming said with emotion: “Today, personally, (this car) is the best birthday present I have received since I was 71 years old.”

In fact, for the entire Foxconn, the release of the new car is also the best gift on the road of transformation.

Three new cars, each with its own characteristics

It can be seen from the official warm-up video that these three models belong to Foxconn’s new electric vehicle brand Foxtron. At the same time, the brand belongs to the joint venture established by Foxconn’s parent company Hon Hai Group and NASDAQ’s parent company Yulon Motors.

To put it simply, these three new cars belong to Foxconn’s “pro son”, not the “OEM OEM” that many people had guessed before.

In terms of positioning, the three models cover household, business and public travel, taking care of most application scenarios.

Among them, the Model E driven by Terry Gou was jointly designed by Honghua Advanced and Pininfarina, a well-known automobile design company. Windows and other functions are also equipped with L2-level automatic driving.

The second Model C, which is positioned as a family SUV, is the first model based on the MIH electric vehicle open platform. The car is 4.46 meters long and has a battery life of up to 700km. Liu Yangwei, chairman of Hon Hai Group, revealed that the price of the car will be less than NT$1 million (about 230,000 yuan), which is also a very competitive price in the mainland.

The last electric bus Model T is for public travel, with LED headlights on all four corners of the front. The cruising range is 250km-320km.

According to official sources, the Model T meets the regulatory standards of the U.S. Federal Transportation Administration. It has completed a 200,000-kilometer endurance test and a rigid strength test of more than 1,000 hours. It is expected to start trial operation in southern Taiwan next year.

In addition to these three models, from the perspective of Foxconn’s previously announced long-term plan, it will provide a variety of models including hatchbacks, MPVs, sedans, and SUVs. The wheelbase has been extended from 2750mm to 3100mm. The power package includes Single-motor front-wheel drive, single-motor rear-wheel drive, and dual-motor four-wheel drive.

Can Foxconn make cars as successful as OEM mobile phones?

So yesterday’s press conference was just an “appetizer”, and more models will be added to the “Foxconn brand car” family in the future.

While releasing the new car, Hon Hai Group also set a clear operational goal: it is expected that by 2025, pure electric vehicles will account for 5% of its manufacturing revenue, with a revenue scale target of 30 billion US dollars, of which 40% of the spare parts will be produced by Made by Hon Hai Group.

Wake up early, catch a late set

Foxconn’s ambition to build a car is not without confidence. Compared with other new car-making forces, Foxconn has actually been in the automotive field for 16 years.

As early as 2005, Foxconn acquired Taiwan’s Antai Electric and officially entered the automotive field. In the following ten years, Foxconn has successively entered the supply chain of Tesla, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and other car companies.

In terms of investment, Foxconn and Tencent have jointly invested in the predecessor of Byton Motors, and have also invested in Xiaopeng Motors, but these investments ended up unhappy.

In general, on the road of car building, Foxconn has been slow and hesitant to make a card, which eventually led to nothing for more than ten years.

Until October 2020, Foxconn officially expressed its determination to enter the field of electric vehicle manufacturing, and it has made frequent moves since then.

On the Hon Hai Technology Day that month, Foxconn quickly launched its first electric vehicle chassis platform MIH and the corresponding software platform. At the same time, plans to launch solid-state batteries in 2024 were also announced.

Immediately after that, in a year, Foxconn produced three models in one breath, which can be described as “silent making a fortune”.

From a technical point of view, Foxconn has been very well laid out in the automotive field for so many years. Not only has a mature production system, but also the technical support of many car companies such as Geely and Nazhijie, which can allow Foxconn to successfully build a complete car manufacturing system within a year.

All that is left to do is to open up the entire supply chain.

But is this still a problem for Foxconn, the “king of foundry”?

Fake car? Real OEM?

Although Foxconn has successfully launched a new car, it is still necessary to maintain a wait-and-see attitude for the success of mass production.

According to the official disclosure, the sales rights of the three models are currently not in Foxconn’s own hands. It is still unknown whether Yulon Motors will promote Foxtron in the future. If the brand cannot be successfully promoted, then Foxconn can only “pin” its hopes on the foundry business.

At the press conference, Model C Speaker Wang Liwei said that the three models currently unveiled are “reference prototype cars, which are the reference versions for customers to plan their own products, and can be modified according to customer needs in the future”.

In other words, the launch of three models this time is still more meaningful in promoting the open platform MIH.

Based on this platform, OEMs can choose chassis designs such as SUVs and sedans, and choose customized solutions such as wheel distance and battery size according to their wishes. Some of these components can be OTA in the future.

Can Foxconn make cars as successful as OEM mobile phones?

As Liu Yangwei said at the MIH conference last year: “Tesla is the iPhone of electric vehicles, and Foxconn hopes that the MIH platform will become the Android of electric vehicles.”

Perhaps in Foxconn’s view, compared to directly launching its own brand, if the experience in supply chain management in the information and communication technology industry over the past three or four decades is applied to the new field of automobiles, the risk will be more risky than launching a new brand directly. come lower.

In fact, in the car OEM business, Foxconn has already tried. In February of this year, Foxconn announced that it signed a memorandum of cooperation with Fisker, a new battery-powered vehicle company in the United States, to manufacture Fisker-branded electric vehicles.

At the same time, as part of the foundry plan, Foxconn also spent $280 million to acquire the auto plant of Lordstown Motors, an electric vehicle startup located in Lordstown, Ohio.

Looking further ahead, in January this year, Foxconn and Geely signed a strategic cooperation agreement, and they will establish a joint venture to provide OEM and customized consulting services for global automobile and travel companies.

Judging from the company profile, Foxconn seems to have started the “old business” of OEM again!

Maybe in the near future, we can really see the “Apple car” that Foxconn OEMs.

In fact, Foxconn should be able to learn some lessons from Geely, a domestic car company peer:

OEM and car manufacturing are actually not in conflict.

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