Fiat Chrysler confirms talks with Foxconn to build electric vehicles in China

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Friday confirmed it is in talks with the top assembler of iPhones to produce electric and connected vehicles in China and possibly for export.

The proposed "equal joint venture" with Foxconn Technology Group, according to the Italian American automaker, would mark a major step for the company to increase its efforts in battery-powered vehicles in China, the world's largest EV market.

Foxconn on Thursday filed a document in Taiwan about the venture. That, however, indicated Fiat Chrysler would hold half of the partnership, while Foxconn's portion would not exceed 40%.

Foxconn's headquarters in Taiwan.

The parties are in the process of signing a preliminary agreement to govern further discussions with the goal of obtaining a binding agreement in the next few months, Fiat Chrysler said.

Vehicles would be produced in China for the market there with the potential to export to other markets in the future, according to Foxconn, which is formally known as Hon Hai Precision Ind. Co. Ltd.

Carbon-emission regulations in China have led Fiat Chrysler's rivals to invest heavily in the market there for electric vehicles. But the partnership could come at a challenging time: Auto sales there fell for a second consecutive year in 2019, and the government last year reduced subsidies for greener vehicles.

The tie-up between Fiat Chrysler and Foxconn would bring together two global companies in design, engineering and manufacturing, the companies said, as well as expertise in mobile software — a key element to the Chinese market, experts have said.

"With Foxconn’s leading mobile technology and software knowledge and FCA’s record of innovation and success in the automotive industry," Foxconn said, "the collaboration would bring to the market a unique driving experience and features that are not currently available."

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble