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Apple Car will not be made by Hyundai, Kia after all

Apple is rumoured to be working on its autonomous electric vehicle and Hyundai may not be a partner anymore.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | February 8, 2021 | Updated 12:10 IST

Highlights

  • Hyundai Motor and Kia have denied they are in talks with Apple.
  • This denial comes after a week's time since the company confirmed it first.
  • Hyundai's statement, however, does not mean the talks cannot reopen.

South Korea's Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia have collectively said they have ended talks with Apple for the autonomous electric car project. This comes a week after the horde of speculations emerged. A Reuters report first suggested Hyundai is holding discussions with Apple for Apple Car, only to be denied later by the company itself, probably under the threat from Apple that likes secrecy of plans. Then, a fresh reporting reasserted Apple and Hyundai are back to it. The latest falling out, however, does not mean the companies might not initiate talks again.

According to Reuters and Bloomberg, Hyundai Motor and Kia in separate regulatory filings said, "We are not having talks with Apple on developing autonomous vehicles." These remarks about the collaboration between the two companies tell nothing new though. Ever since Hyundai jumped the gun to confirm it might become the manufacturing partner for Apple Car, it has teetered between yes and no. And the entire saga has been utterly confusing, if not indicative of the fact that Apple is definitely looking for a partner that can provide it with manufacturing resources for its ambitious EV.

Last week, a Bloomberg report said Hyundai Motor has paused its talks with Apple over the Apple Car. The reason behind Hyundai's walking back was not stated but it is feared the company did something that Apple frowns at severely. It revealed some extremely premature plans about Apple Car that is rumoured to be launched sometime around 2027. Apple is the company that teases nothing about its products. Although rumours and renders do appear occasionally, Apple likely does not have a role in them. For instance, what Hyundai Motor confirmed was never agreed to by Apple.

It is very early to figure out what exactly is happening on this front. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted in his note that the Apple Car, which will be an even advanced Tesla counterpart, might debut at least five years from today. The analyst also said that Apple plans to use Hyundai's E-GMP platform for the electric vehicle while its affiliate Kia will be responsible for manufacturing the Apple Car in the US. But the Apple Car is not expected before 2025, with Kuo believing the delay might extend to two more years and the launch might take place in 2027. There is also a chance the Apple Car debuts in 2028, which is a 7-year time. This gives a breather to Apple and Hyundai, in case they are indeed working together but not choosing to reveal it yet, to discuss the terms for the production of the Apple Car and come up with a solid announcement, even if it does not happen anytime soon.

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