Officials in an Italian region have cast doubts on the viability of a proposed Chinese electric car manufacturing joint venture with FAW.
Silk-FAW, a start-up between US automotive design firm Silk EV and FAW, based in Jilin province, plans to develop and produce high-performance electric and hybrid luxury cars in China and Italy.
Last year it picked the city of Reggio Emilia to build a production facility and a research centre, near the home of iconic Italian supercars made by Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and high-end motorcycle maker Ducati.
Production was expected to start at the beginning of 2023 but the plan has yet to make significant progress, with the company citing problems with finalising a mortgage contract to buy land for the plant.
Vincenzo Colla, head of economic development in the Emilia Romagna regional government, said he had set up a call with Silk-FAW executives for July 14 to assess the plan.
He said officials wanted to know whether the Italo-Chinese electric car venture had enough funding to proceed with promised investments a year after they were publicly announced.
Venture Needs $1bn in Funding
“They’ll have to tell us if the project goes ahead … and, if it does, it necessarily means that financial resources are there. If the project is dead, they just have to tell us,” Colla said. “We’re clearly worried.”
Silk-FAW managing director Katia Bassi said the Chinese electric car venture was working to raise more than $1 billion.
She said Silk-FAW would provide clarifications next week on a wide range of issues, including financial ones.
She declined to give further details, adding that despite a delay on the land purchase the company had continued to develop the two models it wants to produce in Italy, the S9 hybrid ‘hypercar’ and the S7 electric sports car under FAW’s Hongqi brand.
Silk-FAW is 85% owned by its chairman, Silk EV founder Jonathan Krane, and 15% by FAW and employs 75 people.
It has not publicly disclosed financial data nor details about funding as yet.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell