Apple and Hyundai-Kia close to finalizing deal on Apple Car

CarPlay (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple and Hyundai-Kia are close to finalizing a production deal.
  • Multiple sources say production could start as soon as 2024.

As reported by CNBC, multiple sources are saying that Apple and Hyundai-Kia are close to finalizing a deal to build Apple car at the Kia factory in West Point, Georgia (United States). According to those familiar with the talks, the vehicle could go into production as soon as 2024, but they assert that the schedule could be pushed back.

Despite the news, the sources also have said that no deal has been reached just yet and that Apple may ultimately decide to go with another manufacturer.

Sources tell CNBC no agreement has yet been reached between the two companies. In addition, they stress that Apple may ultimately decide to partner with another automaker separately or in addition to working with Hyundai. One source familiar with Apple's strategy on developing a car tells CNBC, "I doubt Hyundai is the only automaker they could strike a deal with, there could be somebody else."

The report goes on to say that Apple wants to build its electric car in North America and is seeking a partner that would allow them to have complete control over the software and hardware going into the vehicle.

For Apple, the decision to build a car opens the potential to tap a global auto and mobility market valued at $10 trillion. Morgan Stanley analyst Katie Huberty explained the profit potential for Apple in a research note she issued in January ... Sources familiar with Apple's interest in working with Hyundai say the tech giant wants to build the "Apple Car" in North America with an established automaker willing to allow Apple to control the software and hardware that will go into the vehicle.

Hyundai stands to benefit from the partnership as well. According to the sources, the new chairman of the company believes that working with Apple could help them accelerate their own ambitions when it comes to autonomous vehicles.

For Hyundai-Kia, working with Apple is being driven by the company's new chairman, Euisun Chung, who took control of the Korean automaker last October. According to one source familiar with Hyundai-Kia strategy, "Chung has made it clear, mobility is the future of the company." That's important because the Apple Car will be fully autonomous ... By working with Apple, leaders of Hyundai-Kia believe they will accelerate development of their own autonomous and electric and vehicle plans. Hyundai is currently partnered with Aptiv in a joint-venture developing autonomous vehicle technology, including robotaxis.

One source says that even Apple's first version of the car will be fully autonomous and designed to not have a driver.

"The first Apple Cars will not be designed to have a driver," said one source with knowledge of the current plan. "These will be autonomous, electric vehicles designed to operate without a driver and focused on the last mile." That could mean Apple cars, at least initially, could focus on package food delivery operations and firms incorporating robotaxis.

Today's report follows another from yesterday that shared many of the same details. That report stated that Apple and Kia were working on a production deal that could produce 100,000 cars initially at the Kia factory in Georgia.

Both Apple and Hyundai-Kia declined to comment on the story.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.