Apple gears up to sign $3.6 billion deal with Kia to build Apple Car

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Kia
Cars could then hit the road by 2024.
Photo: Nils Bogdanovs/Unsplash CC

Apple could be poised to sign a $3.6 billion deal with Kia Motors to build Apple Car, Bloomberg reports Wednesday, citing Korean news outlet DongA Ilbo.

The report says Apple and Kia, which is owned by Hyundai, could sign a deal as soon as February 17. It would then aim to “introduce Apple cars in 2024,” with a possible target of produce 100,000 electric vehicles per year, according to DongA Ilbo.

These Apple cars would supposedly be manufactured in Kia’s factory in Georgia, in the United States. Representatives for both Kia and Apple declined to comment for the Bloomberg story. However, shares in Kia Motors Corp. jumped 14.5% following the report.

Kia working on Apple Car

In early January, Hyundai said it engaged in conversations with Apple. However, the South Korean company later pulled back on these reports and removed Apple’s name from some of its public statements. The initial reports claimed Apple and Hyundai would sign a deal by March. They would then start production around 2024 in the United States — with beta testing before then.

Kia was first mentioned as a possible manufacturing partner for the Apple Car a bit later. This was supposedly due to Hyundai’s concerns about being viewed as simply a Foxconn-style manufacturer for Apple, rather than as its own company. A the time, South Korean news outlet eDaily reported, “If Kia decides to do this, the Apple Car production base will be at Kia’s Georgia plant in the US.”

The one part of today’s report that seems most questionable is the date the Apple Car could be introduced. This week, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested the earliest date the self-driving, electric vehicle could debut would be 2025. And Kuo said even that timeline would be optimistic due to the complexity of such a project.

When can we expect Apple Car?

One possible option: Apple could announce its car in 2024, with shipping set to take place at a later date. Apple has done this for a few products. The original iPhone, for example, was announced in January 2007, but didn’t ship until late June. The HomePod, meanwhile, was announced in June 2017, but didn’t ship until February 2018. And the AirPower charging mat was announced September 2017 and … never shipped.

In the case of Apple Car, it seems likely — at least from my perspective — that Apple could do this. An electric car would almost undoubtedly be the most expensive Apple product in history. And Apple probably would want to get an electric vehicle on the road soon as possible in order to start carving out a place for itself in a rapidly growing market. (Although, to be fair, people said the same about rushing out an Apple Watch. Apple took its sweet time doing that, and suffered zero negative consequences.)

Are you excited at the prospect of an Apple Car? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Bloomberg