Apple Car rumors continued to surface on Friday, with reports that Hyundai Group affiliate Kia has approached potential partners about a plan to assemble Apple’s autonomous electric vehicle at its West Point plant in the U.S. state of Georgia (via The Wall Street Journal).
Kia Corp. has approached potential partners about a plan to assemble Apple Inc.’s long-awaited electric car in Georgia, according to people familiar with the matter. The proposal would involve a multibillion-dollar investment, according to people familiar with the matter, who stress that a deal hasn’t been completed.
Hyundai has talked to Apple about investing more than $3 billion in a deal that would see its subsidiary Kia begin building cars under the tech company’s brand as soon as 2024, a person familiar with the matter said. Under such an agreement, up to 100,000 vehicles could be assembled in the first year in Georgia, where Kia has a factory, the person said.
Meanwhile, in Asia, Nikkei reports that Apple is in discussions with at least six Japanese automakers over supply partnerships and manufacturing contributions (via Bloomberg). Honda and Mazda said they couldn’t comment on rumors that they had been approached by Apple, while Mitsubishi said it had not been contacted and Nissan declined to comment.
According to Tatsuo Yoshida, a senior Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, Japanese automakers are usually too busy with their own development, manufacturing, sales and customer service to take on a task like working with Apple. However, Nissan Motor Co. or Mitsubishi Motors Corp. “don’t have much work, and are somewhat idle, so they might sign up,” he said.
Apple Car rumors have swirled for weeks now, with Apple said to be aiming to have a vehicle in production in 2024, though it’s possible that timeline will be delayed as work on the Apple Car is still in the early stages. Bloomberg recently said it would be five to seven years before an Apple Car is ready to launch, while Apple analyst Ming-Chu Kuo said this week that he expects to see the Apple Car in 2025 at the earliest.
Earlier this week it was reported that the first Apple Car to be released will not be designed to operate with a driver and could be marketed for food delivery operations and firms that incorporate robotaxis.