Apple car talks with Nissan may have already stalled

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Apple Car
Well, that Apple Car team-up didn't last long.
Photo: Torsten Dettlaff/Pexels CC

Apple’s talks with Nissan about collaborating on an electric car may have fizzled, the Financial Times reported Sunday.

The report notes:

“Apple approached Japan’s Nissan in recent months about a tie-up for its secretive autonomous car project, but talks are no longer active, according to people briefed on the matter.”

Talks were reportedly “brief” and didn’t advance to senior management levels. The sticking point seems to have been “divisions over branding” for the resulting vehicle.

This may also be the cause of the previous breakdown in Hyundai negotiations, before Apple turned to Nissan as an alternative. In that case, Hyundai was reportedly worried about being viewed just as an Apple contract manufacturer, more in line with Foxconn than a respected automotive manufacturer with a globally recognized name.

“We have our own customer satisfaction, which comes by car,” Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s chief operating officer, told the Financial Times. “No way we are going to change the way we make cars. The way we design, the way we develop, and the way we manufacture is going to be as an automotive manufacturer, as Nissan.”

He continued: “We have to check who has got the best competency to catch what the customer is thinking. For this, we can do the partnership, but that is to adapt their services to our product, not vice versa.”

In some ways, Nissan seemed a good fit for work with Apple. It was an early mover, among established car companies, in going electric, launching the Leaf in 2010. It also has capacity for building vehicles in its U.S. plants.

When I first wrote about Apple’s talks with Nissan, I jokingly likened Apple’s hop from Hyundai to Nissan to a short-lived, high-school-style rebound relationship. Like many rebound relationships, it seems this one didn’t last long.

Source: Financial Times