Over the weekend, Hyundai Motor Group addressed rumors that Kia had been in negotiations to build an electric vehicle for Apple. While the scuttlebutt seems to have been true, talks were indeed underway, the automaker confessed that they had ended without an agreement.
It’s known that Apple has been hunting for potential partners after its EV program was placed into an extended stasis and was hoping to gain access to a skateboard-type platform. Hyundai’s E-GMP architecture certainly qualifies, too. But it’s just one of many entities entering the field as most manufacturers strive to build their own.
According to Bloomberg, Hyundai/Kia briefly confirmed that it had been in sustained discussions with Apple but ultimately withdrew for reasons unknown. Some have stipulated that the American tech firm might have wanted to go with a domestic manufacturer for security reasons. But, considering that the company is already highly dependent upon Asian factories, it hardly seems like the deciding factor — especially when Hyundai is making it sound as though it was the one that broke things off.
Regardless, it wasn’t great for either brands’ share price. Both saw spikes in valuation as the Apple rumor spread and sharp drops when it was explained that there would be no deal. On Monday, Hyundai Motor shares fell by over 6 percent in South Korea. Kia Motors shares dropped by bout 15 percent.
Apple reportedly remains committed to reinvigorating its electric vehicle program, however. Insiders have tipped off numerous outlets that the company is hoping to have the first “Apple Cars” produced by 2024.
In December, Reuters claimed to have sources suggesting the first examples would appear in 2024. But Taiwanese outlets were reporting that key Asian suppliers had already been mobilized to accelerate production on components that would be necessary for an upcoming EV. While suppliers were supposed to have signed rock-solid confidentiality agreements, the United Daily News named several participating Taiwanese automotive factories in the final week of 2020.
But the iCar concept has been nixed before and reinvigorating the codenamed Project Titan in 2019 doesn’t mean it will survive all the way to 2024. If we could count on every rumor and corporate promise being true, numerous companies operating from both outside and within the auto industry would have been selling totally self-driving conveyances for a couple of years.[Image: Hyundai]