Foxconn, Taiwan’s largest electronics contract manufacturer, has teamed up with European carmaker Stellantis. Through its subsidiary, FIH Mobile, Foxconn has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Stellantis to form Mobile Drive.
Welding Foxconn’s experiences in consumer electronics and mobile software with Stellantis’ expertise in vehicle design, the 50-50 joint venture will be based in the Netherlands and focus on in-vehicle infotainment, telematics and cloud service platform. It will supply both Stellantis and other automakers.
Stellantis was formed earlier this year following the merger of the Italian-American Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and the French PSA Group. The merger has reportedly made Stellantis the world’s fourth largest carmaker after Volkswagen, Toyota and the Renault-Nissan Group, and it owns 14 car brands.
Previously, Fiat Chrysler also planned a joint venture with Foxconn to build electric vehicles in China, especially EVs with networking capabilities. The plan was later derailed after Fiat Chrysler started merger negotiations with PSA.
The formation of Mobile Drive can be perceived as a continuation of the previously delayed plan. As China undertook a series of measures to lift the protections previously placed on its domestic EV makers, including slashing subsidies, the country became a strategic battleground for foreign EV makers seeking a foothold in the world’s largest EV market.
What’s in for Stellantis?
Stellantis is a late comer in the Chinese market compared to rivals like Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors. And the newly formed group has been struggling to improve its meagre sales performance in China. It is estimated that both FCA and PSA have a mere capacity utilization rate of 8% in Asia-Pacific, with the majority of that capacity in China.
In this context, the partnership with Foxconn can be perceived as the group’s strategy to reverse its weak performance in China.
Since 2015, Foxconn already had a presence in the Chinese EV market. It formed an EV joint venture, Future Mobility, together with the Chinese internet giant Tencent and the automobile maker China Harmony New Energy Auto. Later, disputes over leadership and strategies drove Foxconn to leave the project. After a series of changes, Future Mobily eventually became Byton. Foxconn cooperated with the company again to release its first line of EVs in 2022.
At the same time, Foxconn also partnered with China’s biggest automaker Geely to manufacture for the American EV company Faraday Future.
What’s in for Foxconn?
Even though Foxconn has officially entered the EV industry with the announcement of its MIH project to build software and hardware open platforms for EVs, it remains to be seen how its partnership with Stellantis complements with its own MIH framework.
Both FCA and PSA have come up with their own EV platforms already and have carried them into the new partnership. The platforms include PSA’s eCMP, eVMP and FCA’s Giorgio. A new platform named STLA is also scheduled to replace the existing platforms in 2026.
According to FIH Mobile, Foxconn’s division specialized in handset and mobile communications, MIH aims to create a platform for EVs while Mobile Drive targets in-car infotainment system, providing connectivity solutions and various other software-based approaches to create an immersive experience akin to a smartphone for the automobile cockpits.
Ultimately, Mobile Drive is expected to integrate various suppliers and form a homogenous platform in a currently fragmented market. In this sense, Mobile Drive might complement with MIH in achieving Foxconn’s ambition to be a provider of business-to-business EV solutions instead of becoming a traditional EV manufacturer.
Last but no less important, Foxconn can gain access to the European and American market through the partnership. Key to enter the EV industry, according to Foxconn founder Terry Guo, is proximity to the largest EV markets. China, Europe and the US are the largest EV markets, and it seems that Foxconn has been aggressively expanding into them.