Hyundai confirms talks with Apple, then tries to walk it back

From Elizabeth Koh and Tim Higgins’s “Apple in Talks With Hyundai About Car Ambitions, Auto Maker Says” ($) in Friday’s Wall Street Journal:

Apple Inc. has held talks with Hyundai Motor Co.about cooperation on driverless, electric vehicles, the South Korean car giant said.

The brief statement, which sent Hyundai’s shares soaring early Friday in Seoul, included no details and said talks were preliminary but offered rare public confirmation of Apple’s car-related efforts. The iPhone maker has been working secretly on the car project in fits and starts for more than six years, while watching the success of Silicon Valley’s Tesla Inc.ignite interest in electric vehicles.

In recent weeks, Apple has reached out to suppliers about the possibility of doing its own car, potentially starting production as soon 2024, a person familiar with the matter said last month. Apple shelved an earlier effort to develop its own car a few years ago to focus on driverless car technology.

Apple declined to comment.

 Hyundai, in saying Friday that it has held discussions with Apple, said that “as it is at [an] early stage, nothing has been decided.” In a later statement filed with Korean securities regulators, Hyundai said it had fielded requests of potential cooperation on electric vehicles from multiple companies. Hyundai, with affiliate Kia Motors Corp. , ranks among the world’s largest auto makers by sales.

My take: Apple doesn’t like its partners talking out of school. See Hyundai Walks Back Confirmation It’s in Talks Over Apple Car.

8 Comments

  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    Now that’s a design I could buy into. All I’ll have to do is limber up enough to get in and out of it.

    2
    January 8, 2021
    • Jerry Doyle said:
      Perhaps Apple will follow its intro car with an Apple candy red truck, where the ingress and egress is at a truck level height for you to just slide in horizontally. 🙂 I consider myself fit physically at 74 having last summer bushwhack 44 miles across the Arrigetch Peaks in the Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserves carrying an 81 lb. backpack (they had to be weighed before loading on the de Havilland Beaver float plane that deposited us on Circle Lake), but even I find myself falling into my luxury car these days. So, I am thinking possibly of getting Elon Musk’s forthcoming Tesla pickup truck to just slide into and slide out. 🙂

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      January 8, 2021
      • Fred Stein said:
        Impressive hike. I just turned 74 and am fit. But not THAT fit. Congrats.

        1
        January 8, 2021
  2. Bart Yee said:
    Considering how poorly guarded or deliberately Samsung has leaked details about its smartphone products, one could see problems with other Korean manufacturers keeping details about an Apple tie in secret. For Hyundai, there was absolutely no reason to disclose anything to the public about preliminary talks that see no concrete contracts as yet. At best, it’s ego stroking. At worst, it’s financial stock manipulation for insider gain. And in reality, whatever credibility for secrecy they may have had, they might have blown it with Apple upper management for now.

    1
    January 8, 2021
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    There are rumors of other car manufacturers, but it is difficult at this stage to get a handle if a car manufacturer on the outside will be selected or if Apple (like Tesla) decides to manufacture its own vehicle. Magna, a Canadian car manufacturer, is the largest manufacturer of cars in the world, manufacturing such prestige brands as the Mercedes G Class, the Jaguar and BMW select series. Magna is another possible mentioned source, in fact, the most likely source if Apple goes outside. If Apple, though, wants vertical integration for that seamless customer experience, then Apple needs to manufacture its own vehicle. Elon Musk would agree. That, though, is a nightmare as Elon Musk would say for someone lacking the experience to do so. This is where Elon Musk had so many problems early on, although today he has gleaned knowledge and manufacturing experience to where he seems to have that aspect now under control.

    1
    January 8, 2021
  4. Greg Lippert said:
    Why do all these prototypes seem to be sports cars?
    Give me a 4-wheel truck-like vehicle (I’m a big fan of the Honda Element).
    I need to haul stuff, kids, dogs and have zero interest in flashy.
    Call me practical.

    2
    January 8, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      @Gregg while I understand your preferences, the medium to large pickup crowd of current owners, while very very large in the US, IMO has no interest in any sort of electric or even hybrid vehicles. They would not be able to brag about the number of cylinders, total cubic inches, towing or hauling capacity, bed length, or be able to roll coal/diesel. Who would dare be the first in town to eschew their Ford, Chevy or Dodge Ram and risk the social stigma? Plus the idea or sight of recharging for 15-60 min. in an area where dainty Tesla EV’s and others and having to mingle with “tree huggers” might not be palatable.

      A medium sized boxy SUV or minivan is eminently doable as a practical body type along with a people mover 4-5-6 passenger sedan. Efficiency is a big element in the overall environmental message and draw so aerodynamics and attractive styling form part of that equation plus gives extend power range.

      I recently discovered that Toyota introduced its 4th generation Sienna minivan. I have the 2nd gen, handicapped converted, and I have hauled lots of people and cargo, a side loading ramp beats a tailgate except for refrigerators and rocks dropped from a scoop. The 2021 Sienna now has an all hybrid drivetrain, 2 or 4 wheel electric drive, and gets 36mpg city or Hwy. Aggressively styled for men too. I would recommend Apple to consider that as a starting point for a larger EV vehicle type.

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      January 8, 2021
      • Rodney Avilla said:
        “has no interest … electric .. vehicles. … brag about … cylinders, …towing or hauling … roll coal/diesel. Who would dare .. … and risk the social stigma? … dainty Tesla EV’s … mingle with “tree huggers” might not be palatable.”

        That is a very interesting view of country folk. From movies? TV? Late night comedians? I (a Tesla owner) live in a farming/dairy community where everyone and their grandmother have a pickup. Just curious where people get this stuff.

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        January 8, 2021

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