Silk-FAW, a joint venture between Italian startup Silk EV and Chinese auto giant FAW, has reportedly abandoned plans to construct a factory in Italy for production of high-end cars for FAW's premium Hongqi brand.

Reuters reported last week it obtained a document from a local government in Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, where the plant was to be located, that acknowledged Silk-FAW had informed authorities of its intention to withdraw from its previous agreement to construct the plant.

No reason was mentioned, though Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reported last week the project lacked funding.

Citing anonymous sources, Reuters also reported Italian prosecutors were investigating the project.

Hongqi S9

Hongqi S9

The first car to be built at the plant was to be a 1,400-hp hypercar dubbed the S9. It was originally slated to start production in early 2023.

The S9, penned by former Volkswagen Group design chief Walter de Silva, was first shown during the 2021 Shanghai auto show, where a number of key specs were also confirmed.

The car features a V-8-based hybrid powertrain claimed by the company to be capable of delivering 1,400 hp, as well as a pure electric range of about 25 miles. Other performance claims include a 0-60 mph time of less than two seconds and a top speed of more than 250 mph.

Silk-FAW in 2021 also announced the hiring of former Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa as a special advisor, though Felisa left to join Aston Martin as its CEO in early 2022.