Hyundai and Kia are downplaying rumors that they are working with Apple on an autonomous electric “Apple Car.”
Apple and Hyundai-Kia were reportedly close to a deal to manufacture an Apple-branded electric vehicle, which was reportedly going to be fully autonomous, featuring software and hardware that could be controlled by the tech giant.
Hyundai and Kia now say they are no longer in talks with Apple about the project, according to a report by Reuters, but this doesn’t mean that the discussions will not resume at a later date.
Hyundai has walked back a statement that said it was in talks with Apple, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The report added that the announcement, and other reports of Hyundai and Kia’s talks with Apple, upset the tech giant, as the company likes to keep development projects a secret, and prefers to be in control of its relationships with suppliers.
According to a source, the companies are also in a dispute about whether it will be Hyundai or Kia that gets to partner with Apple. If talks end up resuming, Kia is seen as more likely to build an Apple Car at its plant in Georgia, the source said.
Analyst Ming-chi Kuo believes that Apple plans to use Hyundai’s E-GMP platform for its first electric vehicle, and use Kia for US-based manufacturing — although he doesn’t expect the car to hit the market before 2025, according to a report by the Verge.
Speculation about Apple’s partnership with Korean carmakers also fueled rumors that the Silicon Valley giant would be partnering with Japanese carmakers on other projects, amongst the multiple potential partners brought up is Nissan.