Hyundai and Kia no longer in talks with Apple over car project

Although it seemed like an agreement between Apple and either Hyundai or Kia to collaborate on a self-driving electric vehicle was imminent just a week ago, the two automakers said in separate regulatory filings Monday that talks with the tech giant were over.

They also said they were getting requests for collaboration on self-driving cars from multiple companies but said these discussions were still at an early stage, according to CNBC which obtained copies of the regulatory filings.

Talk of a Hyundai or Kia partnership with Apple ignited in mid-January when Hyundai confirmed it was in talks with iPhone company in response to reports out of Korea that the two companies were collaborating on a self-driving EV, most likely to be built at a Kia plant in the United States starting around 2024.

However, issues started to flare up last week when Reuters, citing anonymous executives at Hyundai, reported that the automaker was unsure whether a tie-up with Apple was a good idea. Apparently Hyundai was concerned its image may be tarnished if it was perceived as simply a contract manufacturer.

Another issue, according to Reuters‘ sources, was Apple preferring to source key components for the car, including frames, bodies and powertrains, from a variety of suppliers and then have Hyundai complete the final assembly. This might have been too much for Hyundai which traditionally develops key components in-house.

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Apple is likely to have more options for collaboration on a self-driving EV. The company is thought to also be in talks with General Motors and Stellantis, and recently it hired a former Porsche chassis engineer.

Even Taiwan’s Foxconn, which manufactures the iPhone for Apple, could be an option. It teamed up in January with China’s Geely to form a joint venture that will contract manufacture whole cars. Foxconn also last fall unveiled its own modular EV platform.

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