All is not well under the surface.
A new report reveals troubling information about California-based, Chinese-backed startup Faraday Future.
On surface, it looks like Faraday is on track to take on Tesla Motors in a tussle for dominance of the premium electric car segment. However, Buzzfeed News reports a supplier named Futuris that manufactures and tests seats has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the startup because it's awaiting payment for numerous invoices. To make matters worse, a real estate firm named Beim Maple Properties is suing Faraday future in a bid to receive $104,950.50 of missed rent payments on a warehouse.
The findings won't come as much of a surprise to those have stayed up-to-date with Faraday Future news. Last month, Jia Yueting, the Chinese billionaire who founded Faraday Future, published an open letter that warned of impending financial issues. At the time, he blamed the problems on an unsustainable growth pace and organizational limitations.
Construction work on the company's factory in Nevada stopped at about the same time. The story is more of the same: Faraday owes AECOM -- the firm in charge of the project -- $58 million for three months' worth of work. AECOM is confident that construction work will resume in a timely manner, but the Nevada officials who gave Faraday generous tax breaks to set up shop in their state are markedly less assured.
The Buzzfeed report states that Faraday's unstable financial situation has led more than a few frustrated employees to leave the company in recent months. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a former employee complained that the size of his team had been cut in half without warning. Another ex-worker explained getting projects done was challenging because suppliers and vendors were constantly putting orders on hold due to late payments. A few companies not named in the report have allegedly stopped working with Faraday altogether.
Faraday Future couldn't be reached for comment. However, the company responded to the report on its official Twitter account with a series of vague, ambiguous messages that portray it as the victim of a media smear campaign.
One of them reads "skepticism and negativity only strengthens our conviction to redefine sustainable mobility." A second Tweet claims that "media pessimism is standard fare for disruptors. Deliberate negative info from press and competitors is the welcomed risk of innovation."
Can Faraday Future deliver? We'll find out early next month when the company unveils its first production car (pictured above as a test mule) during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.