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Faraday Future unveiled its first production model, the FF91, in January.
Faraday cancels Las Vegas EV assembly plant
Reuters | 2017/7/14

TAIPEI  -- Faraday Future is moving production of its planned luxury electric SUV in Las Vegas to a new site, virtually scrapping a stalled $1 billion (6.8 billion yuan) assembly plant in the United States amid deepening financial woes of key investor and Chinese entrepreneur Jia Yueting.

Faraday is one of several electric vehicle startups in China and the United States backed by Jia, who has said his company, LeEco, is facing a severe shortage of cash after expanding too fast and in too many directions.

Over the past 13 years, LeEco has grown from a Netflix-like video website to a business empire spanning consumer electronics and cars.

Jia is trying to survive the cash crunch by halting work on the Las Vegas factory and selling a Silicon Valley property less than a year after buying it from Yahoo Inc.

The startup issued a statement explaining its decision to move production of its luxury electric SUV FF 91 to a new site. "This will allow product production to be realized faster, as well as allow our future strategy to be implemented more effectively," the company said.

For LeEco, the move marks a second major setback in its ambition to become a major EV manufacturer. It also has pulled out of a joint project with British sports carmaker Aston Martin to develop the RapidE electric car.

Faraday originally had planned to open the Las Vegas factory late this year with a product portfolio of seven models. It later slashed its lineup to two models, including the FF 91.

Jia, who posted the Faraday statement on his social media account, did not name the new production location. Faraday will continue to own the Nevada factory site.

The FF 91 has been described by its designer as "weird-pretty," and Faraday executives say it will be the most technologically advanced vehicle of its kind when it goes into production in early 2018. But cash shortages have raised questions about the company's prospects.

According to estimates from mutual fund investors, LeEco could see the market value of its listed unit, Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp. Beijing, fall approximately $2.5 billion if its shares resume trading.

The company is set to hold an extraordinary shareholders' meeting on July 17 in Shenzhen.

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