China to make cars in Indiana
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An electric vehicle start-up is retooling an Indiana factory and hopes to conduct trial runs for two new lines of vehicles by the end of the year.
State officials say SF Motors, a Silicon Valley-based subsidiary of China’s Chongqing Sokon Industry Group, plans to hire some of the workers who were laid off when AM General halted operations at its Mishawaka plant last year.
The company says it will spend US$160 million to buy, renovate and retool the factory, which will serve as the company’s main US manufacturing plant. It plans to employ up to 467 workers.
To secure the deal, the state of Indiana is offering the company $3.8 million in tax credits and up to $500,000 for worker training.
The state is also offering an additional $653,000 in tax credits through a programme that encourages companies to take over existing out-of-operation facilities.
The factory is in Saint Joseph County, which is also considering an economic incentives package for the company.
Republican Governor Eric Holcomb joined company officials for the announcement on Wednesday this week.
“With a world of options, we’re thrilled SF Motors chose to expand in Indiana,” he said. “We look forward to witnessing their continued success in Indiana as they develop 21st-century solutions with the help of our talented workforce.”
The South Bend Tribune previously reported that the plant made Mercedes-Benz R-Class vehicles for Chinese buyers and the Hummer H2.
In March, SF Motors officials showed off two crossover SUVs vehicles, the SF5 and SF7, at its HQ in Santa Clara, California.
Both vehicles are slated for production at the Indiana factory.
The plant will handle full production of the vehicles, from body welding to battery production and final assembly.
According to CNBC, the Chinese vehicle-maker is known for its mini-buses, vans and utility trucks. Earlier this year it revealed its first electric concept car, the SF5, which it says will have a range of around 500km.
It will include a device that prevents it being driven if the driver has an alcohol reading on his/her breath.