Lordstown Motors, a company praised by former President Donald Trump as the savior of its namesake industrial Ohio town, has sold its only factory to the Taiwanese manufacturer, Foxconn, in a deal worth $350 million.
The money is a lifeline for the Ohio-based company, which in the year and a half since it was thrust into the spotlight by President Trump has seen one of its prototype trucks burn down; much its executive team resign; and its sales claims come under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Foxconn's agreement isn't just a lifeline for Lordstown's struggling electric vehicle business. It's also a lifeline for the town that shares the company's name.
“I was really kind of shocked,” Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill told The New York Times in an interview last month. “I know that they’ve had negative press, a lot of negative claims, lawsuits. Right now I don’t know what to think. We’re hoping for the best, but if Lordstown Motors makes it, that’s great. If they don’t, you sure hope that somebody comes in and takes the plant over.”
The deal to buy Lordstown's Ohio factory gives Foxconn its second manufacturing facility in the Midwest.
Another Midwestern factory for flatscreens and electronics equipment, in Wisconsin, was supposed to bring in thousands of jobs and a $10 billion investment from the Taiwanese company. Its development never materialized and Foxconn now plans to spend about $672 million on a plant that will employ 1,474 people (down from an estimated 13,000).
Foxconn's factory in Ohio, however, is more central to the company's plans to act as a contract manufacturer for the burgeoning electric vehicle industry.
Foxconn will work with Lordstown and another startup auto company, Fisker, to build electric vehicles at the site, according to statements from the company.
The deal for the factory is expected to close in April, 2022.
"This partnership marks the commencement of integrating our resources with Lordstown Motors to develop Ohio into Hon Hai’s most important electric vehicle manufacturing and R&D hub in North America," said Young Liu, the chairman of Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai Technologies), said in a statement. "As we look to inject Hon Hai’s software and hardware capabilities in the information and communications industry with the wealth of automotive experience that resides in this town and our partners, we will be able to provide customers with more real-time and efficient Electric vehicle products.”