Speculation runs rampant on the nature and scope of the collaboration, causing Hyundai share prices to soar.
Hyundai has confirmed it is in early talks with Apple to develop a joint auto project, according to Reuters. This confirms what a domestic South Korean broadcaster had already reported. It now seems that the two firms are discussing an electric car and battery tie-up.
On January 8, Korea Economic Daily TV said Apple and Hyundai were in discussions to develop self-driving electric vehicles by 2027. They also reported that the two firms wished to develop battery production in the US. The battery factories would be operated by either Hyundai or its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. The broadcaster didn’t cite sources for its report.
Following the report, Hyundai quickly issued a statement. They said “Apple and Hyundai are in discussion, but as it is early stage, nothing has been decided.”
Hyundai declined, however, to say what the talks were about. Apple, for its part, declined to comment at all, according to Reuters.
Posing a challenge to Tesla
An Apple-branded car could be a big challenge to Tesla, the current leader in the electric vehicle (EV) market. It is still unclear as to who would assemble such a car. Reuters says analysts expect Apple to rely on a manufacturing partner to build vehicles.
Hyundai has long been a major promoter of hydrogen fuel cell cars, which compete with electric vehicles. However, the automaker has recently made moves toward battery-powered electric cars. Investors have welcomed this move, given the recent success of Tesla.
Analysts also said Apple may be interested in using Hyundai’s electric car platform and facilities. This would cut the costs to develop and make vehicles.
An Apple tie-up would be a major boost to Hyundai
A tie-up with Apple would be a major boost to Hyundai. The automaker’s global sales last year fell more than 15% as the pandemic took a toll on demand.
The price surge caused by the announcement of the Apple talks added nearly $8 billion to Hyundai’s market value.
Hyundai and Apple already work together on CarPlay, Apple’s software for connecting iPhones to vehicles from a variety of automakers.