Hyundai still hasn’t made up its mind about whether it wants to partner with Apple on the tech giant’s long-rumored semi-autonomous electric car. If the Korean automaker does go along with the plan to develop and manufacture the EV, it may turn the project over to Kia instead.
The news comes from the Korean outlet eDaily by way of iMore, and has been translated by Google. Like all things said about Apple in the press, it’s probably best taken with a pinch of salt:
Hyundai Motor Group, which received a proposal from Apple for electric vehicle-related cooperation, has internally arranged that Kia Motors is in charge of this project. If Kia decides to do this, the Apple car production base will be at Kia’s Georgia plant in the U.S.
Why Kia and not Hyundai itself? It’s reported that Hyundai’s top brass is concerned that building a car for Apple under the Hyundai name would result in Apple overshadowing Hyundai’s contribution, potentially minimizing and damaging the manufacturer’s core brand. Such are the trials and tribulations of partnering with a $2 trillion company, I suppose.
It is said that Hyundai Motors is not in the Apple car business because it is not suitable for the Apple car business due to its strong will to continue to grow its Hyundai brand. There are also concerns that if Apple, rather than Hyundai, takes the lead in the Apple car business, Hyundai Motor may become an OEM factory for Apple cars.
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Hyundai seems far more willing to risk Kia’s visibility, which is predictable but somewhat ironic, given that Kia received an all-new logo as part of a comprehensive rebrand earlier this month. If Kia were to cooperate with Apple, its West Point, Georgia, plant would likely serve as home base for the operation.
The early days of 2021 have been full of headlines surrounding the Apple Car. Two weeks ago, we learned that Apple was targeting production by 2026 at the soonest. A day later, Hyundai released a statement Apple probably wished it hadn’t, saying it was involved in discussions with the iPhone maker to build cars.
Hyundai later revised that statement twice, first saying that Hyundai was one of multiple automakers Apple was courting (as if that’s any consolation to Apple) and then later that Hyundai had been “receiving requests for potential cooperation from various companies,” now omitting any mention of Apple.
It’s worth recalling that Apple has never publicly acknowledged the existence of Project Titan, its semi-autonomous, EV initiative. Given the Cupertino company’s penchant for secrecy, it’s kind of surprising Apple is still considering working with Hyundai at all. It’s also surprising it hasn’t strong-armed Hyundai into throwing the project to whichever subsidiary it prefers — like, say, Genesis. Then again, this collaboration is seemingly just getting off the ground now, so you can rest assured there’s still lots of time for things to get weird, as corporate tag teams of this scale often do. Exciting times ahead!