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UPDATE: Fiat Chrysler explores electric car JV with iPhone assembler Foxconn

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is in talks to set up a 50/50 joint venture with Apple Inc. supplier Foxconn for the development and production of electric and connected vehicles.

Confirming the discussions, the Italian-American carmaker said the proposed partnership will initially be focused on the Chinese market. The companies are in the process of signing a preliminary agreement and will continue discussions aimed at reaching a binding agreement in the next few months.

"The proposed cooperation ... would enable the parties to bring together the capabilities of two established global leaders across the spectrum of automobile design, engineering and manufacturing and mobile software technology to focus on the growing battery electric vehicle market," FCA said in a statement.

Foxconn, which is officially known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., is a key assembler of Apple's iPhones. The Taiwanese electronic components supplier said in a regulatory filing that the joint venture will be formed between a Hon Hai subsidiary, in which its direct shareholding will not exceed 40%, and the companies will set up a joint project office.

There is no assurance that final binding agreements will be reached or will be reached in that time frame, the companies said.

Fiat Chrysler is doubling down on its electrification efforts, joining the industry-wide push into electric vehicles. In 2018, Fiat Chrysler executives said the company has no plans to pull back on its investment in electric vehicles even if global markets weaken.