Leaders of Hyundai-Kia believe collaboration with Apple will set them on a path to accelerate their own plans of developing autonomous electric vehicles.
Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Hyundai-Kia are close to finalizing a deal which will see the two companies manufacture an Apple-branded autonomous electric vehicle. Apple has been flirting with an autonomous electric car idea for years now but recent developments and this latest deal suggests that the company is set to build its own vehicle.
According to reports, no official agreement has been reached yet between the two companies as Apple is still open to the idea of bringing on board another automaker separately or could work with both automakers. “I doubt Hyundai is the only automaker they could strike a deal with, there could be somebody else,” a source close to the company told reporters.
Apple last year announced its plans of manufacturing a self-driving vehicle which according to the company could hit the market in 2024. Apple’s latest deal with Hyundai-Kia however has led to speculation as to when the ‘Apple car’ could be unveiled, with many suggesting that the date could be pushed back.
Apple has yearned for a spot in the global auto and mobility market for some time now and its decision to finally build an autonomous car takes them a step closer to tapping into the $10 trillion market. Apple’s interest in Hyundai-Kia according to reports is that the tech giant wants to build its autonomous car in North America with a household automaker brand willing to allow Apple to control both the software and hardware units of the vehicle.
The vehicle will be an “Apple Car” not a Hyundai-Kia model equipped with Apple software. According to reports, Apple also plans to manufacture its autonomous vehicles at the Kia assembly plant in West Point, Georgia, located 90 minutes southwest of Atlanta with available capacity to speed up scaling production as well as the supply chain.
Leaders of Hyundai-Kia believe collaboration with Apple will set them on a path to accelerate their own plans of developing autonomous electric vehicles. Euisun Chung, chairman of Hyundai Motor Group and the only son and “heir apparent” of Hyundai Motor Group who took control of the Korean automaker last October has reportedly stated that the future of the company is mobility. Euisun’s plans are aligned with that of Apple as the Tech giant wants their vehicle to be fully autonomous.
Kia Motors shares surged over 14% after the announcement as Apple is reportedly set to invest $3.6 billion in its efforts to build its autonomous car.
Hyundai is already in business with Aptiv in a joint-venture developing autonomous vehicle technology, including robotaxis and there’s no indication that this partnership would change once the company reaches a final agreement with Apple.
It is still unclear exactly how the Apple Car would look like, although sources close to the company have revealed that, there are a couple of notable features. “These will be autonomous, electric vehicles designed to operate without a driver and focused on the last mile,” one source claimed, leading to a speculative notion that Apple cars, could initially focus on package food delivery operations and firms involved with robotaxis.