Kia reportedly started contacting potential partners in Georgia about working on the Apple car, The Wall Street Journal says.
This is the latest development as Apple and Kia parent company Hyundai supposedly prepare to team up in a $3.6 billion deal to build a self-driving electric vehicle. Kia reportedly could manufacture as many as 100,000 Apple cars per year.
The WSJ report doesn’t fill in any blanks about Kia’s possible supply chain partners. However, the fact that the automaker is contacting companies it would need to make this plan a reality suggests the talks with Apple are progressing. A recent report suggested the two companies could sign a deal in the first half of February.
The WSJ writes:
“If it were to pick Hyundai-Kia, Apple’s approach to producing cars would seem to be similar to the way it produces iPhones with a third-party manufacturing partner. In this case, Apple could benefit from the car company’s supply chain and vehicle engineering while focusing on its experience in design, software and digital features.”
Meanwhile, Nikkei claims that Apple is building out a supply chain for Apple car in Japan. There are supposedly at least six companies in the supply chain, which is being led by Apple’s R&D facility in Yokohama.
Apple car’s journey to the road
Rumors about an Apple car have been circulating since 2015. Apple has, at various times, employed hundreds of engineers working on a car, only downsize the project and then ramp it up again. The latest set of rumors suggest Apple will develop the software for the project, while Hyundai would execute the manufacturing.
However, Apple recently hired a leading Porsche chassis designer, hinting that Apple will do a lot more than just stick to software. Hyundai was allegedly concerned about being viewed as just a manufacturing partner for Apple. For this reason, it passed the Apple car collaboration along to Kia.
No date has been confirmed for launching the Apple car. But given the complexity of the task, it seems unlikely that we’ll get anything before 2025.
Are you excited at the prospect of an Apple car? What form do you think the vehicle will ultimately take? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Source: The Wall Street Journal