Hyundai and Kia deny they’re in talks with Apple to produce a car
Apparently there will be no Apple Car coming out of South Korean companies. Both Hyundai Motor Co. and its subsidiary Kia Corp. today denied reports that they’re in talks with Apple Inc. to develop an electric autonomous vehicle.
Apple’s efforts to build a car go back to 2015, although it was reported in 2016 that the Apple car project was dead in the water after Apple cut hundreds of positions and had switched its focus to pursuing self-driving technology that can be applied to other cars. Apple laid off 190 staffers from its self-driving car project, dubbed “Project Titan” in February 2019.
In December it was reported that Apple was back in the car game and aiming to have a self-driving car on the road by 2024. But a later report Jan. 7 claimed that the project may actually take five to seven years to deliver.
Forward to Feb. 3 and it was reported that Apple was close to signing a deal with Kia to produce an Apple car. According to CNBC, Hyundai and subsidiary Kia said in a regulatory filing that they are not in talks with Apple to develop a car despite media reports to the contrary.
“Hyundai Motor is getting requests from multiple companies for cooperation in joint development of autonomous, electric vehicles but nothing has been decided since it’s in early stage,” the company said in its filing. “Hyundai Motor is not in talks with Apple on autonomous vehicle development,” it added.
Kia also made a similar filing, saying that it was reviewing prospects of cooperating with “multiple companies overseas” over autonomous electric vehicles — but nothing has been decided before specifically adding that it was not in talks with Apple.
Whether talks between Hyundai, Kia and Apple had previously taken place is another matter. Bloomberg claims that talks did take place but they ceased weeks ago, according to people familiar with the matter. Interestingly, the same report also says Apple has discussed similar plans with other auto manufacturers.
That Hyundai and Kia may not be involved in a possible Apple car does not negate the idea that Apple is pushing ahead with its car project. It was reported in December that Apple had hired Dr. Manfred Harrer, formerly vice president of chassis development at Porsche AG.
Famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed earlier this month in a research note to investors that Apple was looking to work with General Motors Co. and Groupe PSA. He’s famed for his Apple predictions and has a remarkable track record in getting things right. But he also said in the same research note that a deal between Apple and Hyundai was happening and that the Kia production lines in the U.S. would manufacture the Apple car.
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