Speculation that tech giant Apple may be seeking to work with multiple carmakers to develop its own electric vehicle and reports of recent discussions with Hyundai-Kia have caused shares of major carmakers in both South Korea and Japan to rise.
Bloomberg reports that speculation that tech giant Apple is planning its own electric vehicle has increased following a recent Wall Street Journal report that Kia Motors Corp. is in talks with potential partners about a plan to assemble an Apple-designed car and a recent Nikkei newspaper article stating that at least six automakers were in talks with Apple.
In January, rumors that Apple had plans to design and sell its own vehicle re-emerged after seven years of silence surrounding the project. At the time, Kia’s part-owner Hyundai Motor Co. was mentioned as a potential partner.
Tatsuo Yoshida, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, believes that Japanese automakers are usually too busy with their own development, manufacturing, sales, and customer service to take on a huge task like working with Apple. However, Nissan Motor Co. or Mistubishi Motors Corp. “don’t have much work, and are somewhat idle, so they might sign up,” he said.
Honda Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. were both asked if they had been contacted by Apple but both declined to comment. Mitsubishi Motors claimed it was not contacted while Nissan declined to comment.
Kia shares rose 1.5 percent in Seoul adding to gains from earlier this week following a local media report that Apple would invest 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion) as part of a collaboration with the carmaker on electric vehicle production.
CNBC recently reported that Apple is close to finalizing a deal with Hyundai-Kia to build an autonomous electric vehicle at Kia’s U.S. plant but no agreements has been reached yet.
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