Not so fast: Apple car relationship with Kia may be revving up again


Apple's partner on the Apple Car project could be Kia. Again.
Photo: Nils Bogdanovs/Unsplash CC

The will-they-won’t-they drama involving Apple and Kia’s possible team-up to build an Apple car is on again.

Shares in the automaker rose by up to 8.1% Friday, after rumors abounded that there is still a chance that they will work with Apple on an electric vehicle. Even if it turns out to be a slightly different vehicle to the one some are expecting.

Reuters notes that:

“Online [South Korean] site Chosun Biz said on Friday that Apple and Kia had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last year and had agreed to pursue cooperation in eight sectors, including electric vehicles. It said negotiations on electric vehicles had not been completely cancelled.

‘Even if the negotiations on electric vehicles fail, there are many items that can be negotiated in other fields, so we are still optimistic about the possibility of partnership between the two sides,’ Chosun cited an unnamed source familiar with negotiations between Hyundai and Apple as saying.”

Apple car is the possible collaboration most people have their eye on. However, the two companies are also said to be talking about “last mile” mobility. That would mean developing transport that could be used to complete short distances. Neither Apple, nor Kia parent company, Hyundai has commented on the rumors.

The Apple car partnership story so far

Hyundai said, back in early January, that it had participated in conversations with Apple. It later pulled back from these reports and removed Apple’s name from some of the public statements it had made. Initial reports claimed Apple and Hyundai would sign a deal by March. They would then begin production on an Apple car around 2024.

Another twist then emerged when Hyundai supposedly passed the deal along to its Kia subsidiary. This was said to be because Hyundai got cold feet about being viewed as a potential Apple manufacturer. Apple and Kia were said to be on the brink of a $3.6 billion deal to build Apple cars in Georgia. But then that fell through. Apple subsequently was said to have moved on to conversations with Nissan, which also stalled.

From Apple’s perspective, the issue is that it requires an established company to help it begin manufacturing. That is why it is interested in platforms like Hyundai’s E-GMP platform, a base onto which electric vehicles can be built, without Apple having to create one from the ground up. The issue from manufacturers’ perspectives is a disagreement over branding, and not just wanting to be viewed as the assembly company behind the Apple car.

What are your predictions for the eventual Apple car? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Reuters