SF Motors Buys Former Hummer Assembly Plant in Indiana to Build EVs
【Summary】SF Motors, an electric vehicle clean mobility brand based in Silicon Valley, and AM General today announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which SF Motors, a subsidiary of Sokon Industry Group, will acquire AM General’s sprawling commercial assembly plant (CAP) in Mishawaka, Indiana.
SF Motors, an electric vehicle clean mobility brand based in Silicon Valley, and AM General today announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which SF Motors, a subsidiary of Sokon Industry Group, will acquire AM General's sprawling commercial assembly plant (CAP) in Indiana. The plant most recently produced the Mercedes Benz R-Class minivans. However, the production of the R-Class is scheduled to end in October, which would have left the plant idle.
SF Motors will use the former Hummer assembly plant to produce "intelligent" electric vehicles, with materials sourced primarily from U.S. sources, after a one or two year period of retooling. General Motors discontinued the Hummer brand in 2010 after failed negotiations to sell the brand to China based Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co.
The deal includes the acquisition of the land, plant and certain auto manufacturing equipment exclusively associated with the CAP, does not impact AM General's separate military assembly plant (MAP) or military-related business, which is AM General's core business. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The Deal Preserves Over 400 American Jobs
Under the terms of the agreement, SF Motors expects to retain, after a brief period of retooling, all of the current CAP employees, preserving approximately 430 American auto worker jobs, which would have otherwise been lost when the CAP's sole remaining customer contract expires later this year and would have resulted in a line shutdown.
These employees are nearly all represented by UAW Local 5, which is the oldest continuously operating UAW Local in the country. Sokon Industry Group has also committed to enhancing the economies of the broader South Bend region and state of Indiana, including making approximately $30 million in key upgrades to the CAP.
Sokon Industry Group
Sokon Industry Group is a publicly-traded company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange that is principally engaged in the research and development, manufacturing and sales of automobiles, engines and accessories, recently established a US-based headquarters in the heart of Silicon Valley as the first step in launching a dedicated electric vehicle (EV) clean mobility brand on the West Coast, known as SF Motors.
The company has also established a research and development (R&D) facility outside Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sokon's primary business is comprised of automobile manufacturing, engine manufacturing and auto parts manufacturing. SF Motors will use the former AM General facility to produce intelligent electric vehicles and expects to source subassemblies, parts and materials for its new operations at the facility predominantly from U.S. sources, which would support U.S. supply chain jobs.
John Zhang, CEO of SF Motors, said, "This transaction represents a unique opportunity to grow our intelligent electric vehicle business through the addition of an existing production facility and a skilled workforce. We are excited to work closely with our new Indiana-based team to produce SF Motors' next-generation electric vehicle in South Bend, Indiana, and we look forward to becoming a part of the local community and a strong contributor to Indiana's economic growth."
"We are confident that SF Motors is the right long-term owner to support the CAP, as well as the South Bend community and the State of Indiana," said AM General President and Chief Executive Officer, Andy Hove. "This transaction puts the CAP on solid ground to keep the assembly lines running, providing our tremendously talented and dedicated employees new opportunities as part of SF Motors and its plans to produce next generation electric vehicles."
The transaction, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of U.S. and Chinese regulatory approvals.
About SF Motors
Headquartered in Silicon Valley in Santa Clara, California and dedicated to creating intelligent electric vehicles, SF Motors is funded by the Chinese automaker and supplier Chongqing Sokon Industry Group. The company is establishing R&D facilities, and is in process of designing and producing a U.S. based clean electric vehicle with the help of Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard.
The company most recently has established a powertrain and intelligent technical R&D center in Silicon Valley, as well as an engineering R&D facility outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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