Hyundai and Kia have said they are not in discussions with Apple over the development of a so-called “Apple Car.”
Rumors have been swirling in recent weeks about Hyundai and sister-company Kia discussing a potential collaboration with Apple regarding an electric vehicle (EV) with advanced autonomous capabilities.
But Bloomberg reported on Sunday, February 7, that the companies are not in talks after the news outlet saw regulatory filings from the Korean automaker. The report doesn’t make clear if Hyundai is saying that the talks have ended for good, or whether it’s simply rolling out a deliberately vague message to try to distance itself from speculation that the companies are considering a partnership.
Sunday’s update chimes with news just a couple of days ago claiming that Apple had “paused” discussions with Hyundai and Kia, possibly over its unhappiness with numerous recent leaks regarding its EV project, Bloomberg said.
Hyundai revealed in January 2021 that it was in talks with Apple about a possible partnership before quickly withdrawing the statement. It gave no explanation about its sudden reluctance to confirm discussions, but it’s possible the famously secretive tech giant voiced disquiet with the automaker about the revelation, forcing it to retract its statement.
Other issues that could have stalled the talks include whether the vehicle would be manufactured under the Hyundai/Kia brands or feature Apple branding. Hyundai executives were reportedly also wrestling with various issues, including fears that assembling a vehicle for another company might impact its brand reputation.
It’s not clear if talks between Apple and the Korean automakers will resume at some point in the future, but the most recent developments suggest the American tech company is closely evaluating its options moving forward. Indeed, another report in recent days — this one from Japan’s Nikkei news outlet — claimed Apple is in discussions with up to six automakers for the development of its EV.
Sources also said that instead of personal ownership, the tech giant’s autonomous EV would likely be used for delivery and robotaxi services similar to those being tested by autonomous-vehicle specialist Waymo.
Apple, of course, has remained tight-lipped about the rumored project, though various auto-related hires, as well as its known work on autonomous technology and the Hyundai news, suggest it is intent on entering the auto industry in one way or another, though we may not see the fruits of its labor until the end of this decade.
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