A Foxconn Tesla? Taiwan tech giant targets 5% of EV manufacturing by 2025

TAIPEI, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn (2317.TW), best known for assembling Apple's (AAPL.O) iPhone, said on Tuesday it hopes to one day make cars for Tesla as it ramps up electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing in a strategy to diversify its business.

Speaking at the company's annual Tech Day, Chairman Liu Young-way said Foxconn, the world's biggest contract electronics maker, wants to replicate its level of success in assembling consumer gadgets as it expands into building EVs for auto brands.

"Based on our past records for the PC and cellphone markets ... we're at about 40-45% of the overall market share. So, ambitions-wise, hopefully we are able to achieve the same kind of achievement like in the ICT (information and communications technology) industry, but we will start small, which is about 5% in 2025," Liu said.

"I hope one day we can do Tesla cars for Tesla."

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, makes all of its EVs in-house and has been rapidly expanding capacity.

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Liu said Foxconn is not in the business of selling its own EV brands but wants its customers to sell "a lot" of EVs, which will be made in Taiwan, Thailand and the United States. Foxconn is negotiating with partners in Indonesia and India, Liu added.

The company expanded into EVs and semiconductors in recent years, announcing deals with U.S. startup Fisker Inc (FSR.N) and Indian conglomerate Vedanta Ltd (VDAN.NS).

Foxconn is leveraging its "48-year-old roots in ICT manufacturing" to halve EV design times and slash development costs by a third, Liu said.

Luxgen n7, an EV built by Foxtron, a joint venture between Foxconn and Taiwanese car maker Yulon Motor Co Ltd (2201.TW), received 15,000 pre-orders in less than two days, Liu added.

"Despite the challenges of conflict in Europe and COVID globally, Foxconn has maintained our EV strategy," Liu said.

"Supply chain resilience has always been Foxconn's DNA. Our global footprint in 24 countries gives us a huge advantage to meet EV industry demands."

The annual tech showcase takes place on the birthday of the company's billionaire founder Terry Gou. Introduced as a special guest, Gou drove onstage in one of two prototypes unveiled this year, the Model B sporty crossover hatchback.

The other prototype unveiled was the Model V, an all-terrain pickup. Three prototypes - a SUV, a sedan and a bus - were unveiled last year, and Foxtron's electric buses are already in service in some Taiwanese cities.

"Our heartfelt hope is that Taiwan can seize this once-in-a-hundred years, rare EV business opportunity," Liu said.

Foxconn's shares closed down 1.4% on Tuesday, underperforming the benchmark index (.TWII), which gained 1.2%. Its shares have dropped 0.5% this year, giving it a market value of $45.5 billion.

Reporting by Sarah Wu; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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