The hum of the Apple Car reaches the Peach State

“We are hearing encouraging things,” said a person briefed on the matter in Georgia.

From the Wall Street Journal’s “Kia Seeks Partners to Build Apple Car in Georgia” ($) posted early Friday:

Kia Corp. has approached potential partners about a plan to assemble Apple Inc.’s long-awaited electric car in Georgia, according to people familiar with the matter.

The proposal would involve a multibillion-dollar investment, according to people familiar with the matter, who stress that a deal hasn’t been completed. If successful, it would thrust the iPhone maker into the car business after several years of secretive work in which its engineers plotted to upend the 100-plus-year-old automotive industry.

Hyundai has talked to Apple about investing more than $3 billion in a deal that would see its subsidiary Kia begin building cars under the tech company’s brand as soon as 2024, a person familiar with the matter said. Under such an agreement, up to 100,000 vehicles could be assembled in the first year in Georgia, where Kia has a factory, the person said. Korean newspaper Dong-A IlBo earlier reported the potential deal’s scope.

As reports of a deal have filled the Korean media, Hyundai and Kia shares have soared. Recently, Hyundai-Kia officials have been reaching out to potential partners in preparation for a deal going through. “We are hearing encouraging things,” said a person briefed on the matter in Georgia.

My take: The Journal is playing catch-up.

7 Comments

  1. Jerry Doyle said:
    “My take: The Journal is playing catch-up.”

    My take: Much of the media and especially MS analyst Adam Jonas are out over their skis, bending at the waist, arching their backs with heads flung forward & backside high, hands back, sailing so far out front in an aerodynamically position creating such an airfoil as to make a mockery of the meritorious rumors, thus suppressing a pop in the stock price.

    Apple is not going to leapfrog the industry in its first outing with its car. Apple will offer a semi autonomous vehicle that will blend with the competition. It will be premium, with hardware, software and Apple services integrated seamlessly in ways as to be an extension of home, work and social interaction involving our activities of daily living.

    100,000 cars annually is not a fleet sale for the masses. That number is targeted to Apple customers prepared to pay premium for an iCar Pro model with all the latest and greatest technology for a computer on wheels driving experience. The driver will have a steering wheel to drive interactively with the car or the option to sit back and monitor while attending to other matters, as appropriate.

    Little doubt, through incrementalism in development of its car program, Apple may move to driverless cars; but that is not going to be what this 100,000 annual offering is about. It’s frustrating how talking heads and analysts too often in their pontificating lose sight of the practical perspective.

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    February 5, 2021
  2. Rick Povich said:
    I’m still dubious of these timelines being tossed around for the Car (JMO). For comparison, look at Rivian and their EV pickup trucks. The company has been already been around for several years in development. They’ve provided a couple of their pickup trucks to be support vehicles for the Ewan MacGregor Long Way Up series. The trucks will be available for sale (supposedly) in 2022 at $65-75,000 (not crazy for a pickup these days) with a 300 mile range. There were some technical issues with one of the trucks in the movie that disabled it a hundred miles from nowhere (it required a long-distance sat-phone tech call and system reboot to reset). Apple may have the deep pockets necessary for the R&D to enable it to move the process more quickly but there’s still a long way to go between concept and prototype. Can Apple do it in 2 years? Ehhhhh, I dunno.

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    February 5, 2021
  3. John Konopka said:
    Regarding those doubting that Apple can pull this off by 2024, the starting line is not today. The starting line was many years ago. It is just becoming slightly visible today.

    On one of the business show clips I heard that Apple was targeting 2024, it wasn’t a hard target. Internally they are OK if they miss this. Clearly, this is rumor, not fact, …

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    February 5, 2021
  4. Jerry Doyle said:
    Jony Ive & Steve Jobs had preliminary discussions about an Apple car before Steve passed. Apple started in 2014 seriously targeting work on an Apple car. It’s been an off/on news event. Something tells me that when work started seriously in 2014, it never let up.

    Apple for years has been poaching engineers from Tesla & Tesla from Apple. And, Apple has brought in top car engineers & specialists from other car manufacturers. So, if Apple comes forth with a car in 2024, then that is a minimal 10 year R&D project come to fruition. It’s not a Jony come lately, …. excuse the pun. 🙂

    Also, I truly believe that Apple in its continuing quest to grow revenues will need to consider seriously new sources of revenues tied with the iCar. It makes logical sense to do so. Apple already finances its own hardware through Apple Pay & provides Apple Care Protection. There is no earthly reason why Apple cannot produce an Apple car financed through Apple Pay at attractive financing rates. Make another click & the Apple consumer purchases Apple Care Protection. Eventually, I see an altogether new revenue source of Apple Car Insurance: One Stop Shopping (buy the car, buy Apple Care Protection & buy Apple Car Insurance-3 computer clicks) becomes the epitome of simplicity in car buying from the days when buying a car was an ordeal, but now is a delight sitting in front of your computer purchasing your Apple Car the same as you purchase other Apple hardware products & accessories.

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    February 5, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      AppleCarCare ™, maybe partially assisted by Geico, keeping Buffet involved.

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      February 5, 2021
  5. Michael Goldfeder said:
    What I see as a result of this pandemic and the WFH and LFH, is that Apple has been introduced into the business world and accepted on a much larger scale than in the past. This segue into autonomous EV vehicles is just another pathway of the Apple lifestyle that has become entrenched in the lives of those using 1.65 billion devices and growing.

    I agree with @ Jerry that the various platforms and revenue streams for Apple will keep expanding along with these various ventures. Coupled with the 10 years that Apple has already been working on this project prior to the news rumors. Apple doesn’t come out of the lab prematurely. It exits when it has a product ready to launch and put into production.

    It reminds me of that old Paul Masson wine commercial with Orson Welles who said: “We will sell no wine before its time.”

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    February 5, 2021

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