Report: Apple and Kia Could Build the 'Apple Car' Together
February 3, 2021 Topic: Apple Car Region: Asia Blog Brand: Korea Watch Tags: AppleKIAProject TitanApple CarAutonomous Vehicles

Report: Apple and Kia Could Build the 'Apple Car' Together

How well might this potentially powerful partnership compete in the future market of autonomous vehicles?

After a long period without a lot of news on Apple’s plans to make its own car, there’s been a ton of it in recent months.

Apple’s car project, known as Project Titan, has been in the works for many years, with indications that the company was either looking to build its own autonomous electric car, or to provide a system that would allow them to partner with other manufacturers.

In December, the company reportedly reshuffled the executives responsible for the car project, with a report coming not long after that Apple was in talks with Hyundai about a partnership from the car. Hyundai at one point confirmed that the parties were in talks but later backed off of that statement. Subsequent reports said Hyundai was conflicted about working on such a deal, since Hyundai isn’t known for making cars for others.

Now, there are reports that Apple has reached a deal with Kia, the South Korean car company with ties to Hyundai, which would entail Apple investing in Kia in connection with the car project.

According to Bloomberg News, the report comes from the South Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo, and states that Apple will invest four trillion won (the equivalent of $3.6 billion) in Kia Motors, “as part of a collaboration with the South Korean carmaker on making electric vehicles.”

The deal would have an initial target of 10,000 vehicles produced per year, the report said.

The newspaper went on to report that the cars would be made in the United States, at Kia’s plant in Georgia, and that it would lead to the first cars arriving on the market in 2024. That matches a Reuters report from December that 2024 was the target date for the new car to arrive, and that Apple was eying that year to “produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology.”

The report has not been officially confirmed by any of the parties, but it was enough to send Kia’s stock surging on Wednesday. Apple and Kia did not comment on the Bloomberg report, although they didn’t deny it either.

As companies have been mentioned in the media in connection with the Apple car project, the relationship between Kia and Hyundai is highly complex.

Both brands are South Korean. Hyundai and Kia were separate companies until the time of the Asian Economic Crisis of the late 1990s, when Kia entered bankruptcy and Hyundai Motor Company acquired 51 percent of Kia, a stake that has since been reduced to around one-third. Kia, however, owns stakes in more than twenty Hyundai subsidiaries.

Kia, in recent years, has made a dramatic improvement in its reliability ratings.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters