South Korean carmaker Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia have announced that they are no longer in negotiations with Apple to manufacture the rumoured Apple Car.
Though this should put an end to the flurry of reports around the much-hyped autonomous vehicle, it is still said that this does not mean the end of the road for the South Korean auto heavyweight's involvement in the putative project.
It had emerged that Apple was in talks with multiple automakers, including Hyundai, for what is believed to be the tech giant's first autonomous electric car (and indeed Apple's first car, period).
Further reports in Korean media had suggested that Apple was close to inking a deal with Hyundai's affiliate manufacturer, Kia, to produce100,000 cars per year, which would later be expanded to 400,000 depending on commercial reception of the vehicle.
Apparently, such media leaks did not go down well with Apple, which famously likes to keep its operations under a lid of secrecy.
Bloomberg has now reported that Apple has 'paused' its talks with both Hyundai and Kia.
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Apple in talks with Japanese automakers?
According to the report, both Hyundai and Kia have said that talks to develop autonomous vehicles with Apple are on hold. Allegedly, the car companies were miffed by Apple's attitude and left uncomfortable by the idea of being a mere assembler of another company's project.
But seasoned Apple analysts say that some kind of understanding between the companies can still emerge, notwithstanding the current friction between them.
Interestingly, reports also say that Apple is in discussions with at least six Japanese automakers over possible production and supply partnerships for the Apple Car.
Essentially, this suggests that Apple is in the early stages of negotiations with several automakers around the world regarding the project, and that nothing has been finalised as yet.
It would follow, then, that all those mutterings about the Apple Car being released as early as 2024 now seem fanciful and misplaced. If the project does indeed go ahead, the Apple Car is unlikely to make it to the mass market before 2025.
Apple is clearly working on a major automotive project, that much is clear – it just needs to find a car company to help build it.