Hyundai EgmpSource: Hyundai

What you need to know

  • A new report says Apple is in negotiations with at least six carmakers, including some Japanese firms about making an Apple Car.
  • Kia and Hyundai seem to be frontrunners for a deal, but Apple may be considering multiple options or alternatives should a deal fall through.

A new report says that Apple is negotiating with 'at least' six car companies about producing an Apple Car, including some Japanese firms that might have the capacity to adopt the project.

From Nikkei.com:

Apple seems to be consulting several automakers, including Japan, to produce electric vehicles (EVs). On March 3, CNBC reported that negotiations with Kia, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea, were nearing an agreement. "At least six companies are in negotiations," said a supplier executive. Automakers are forced to make difficult decisions about whether to accept the "horizontal division of labor" model, which divides design, development and production.

That "division of labor" could be key to who takes Apple up on any potential offer. As explained by Bloomberg:

Tatsuo Yoshida, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said that Japanese automakers are usually too busy with their own development, manufacturing, sales and customer service to take on a task like working with Apple. However, Nissan Motor Co. or Mitsubishi Motors Corp. "don't have much work, and are somewhat idle, so they might sign up," he said.

Apple was recently rumored to be close to finalizing a deal with Hyundai and Hyundai-owned Kia to the tune of $3.6 billion that would see Kia produce 100,000 vehicles a year at its West Point plant in Georgia, US.

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Another report this morning states Kia is looking for manufacturing partners to help create an Apple Car, and it seems increasingly likely Apple could work to produce the same vehicle through multiple automakers if it can find willing partners.

Apple is expected to debut a new autonomous electric vehicle as early as 2025.