Were Rumors of Kia-Apple Tie-up Premature?

  • By Yoon Hyung-jun

    February 08, 2021 13:05

    Reports of a tie-up between Kia and Apple to develop electric cars may have been premature.

    Bloomberg reported last Friday that Apple has "paused" negotiations with Kia's parent company Hyundai because it was upset about leaks from Kia that sparked a stock bonanza here.

    CNBC earlier claimed Apple and Kia were "close to finalizing" a deal to "manufacture an Apple-branded autonomous electric vehicle at the Kia assembly plant in West Point, Georgia."

    An unofficial artist's impression of Apple's electric concept car /Courtesy of MacRumors

    But Nikkei Business reported that Apple was also in talks with at least six Japanese automakers about contract production, and Apple has commented on none of the reports.

    Hyundai explains its position on Monday, but industry insiders believe it will only be able to repeat that nothing has been decided.

    Industry watchers expect the negotiations to drag on. Apple apparently hopes to start making the electric cars in 2024, so there is still plenty of time. But others say there are not many automakers in the U.S. other than Kia that could manufacture EVs.

    Kim Pil-soo at Daelim University said, "You cannot ignore the brand power of Apple, but the Korean automaker probably wants to avoid becoming a subcontractor of the U.S. tech giant."

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