South Korea’s Hyundai said on Monday it is not now in talks with Apple on autonomous electric cars, just a month after it confirmed early-stage talks, causing the automaker’s shares to plummet.
Wiping $3 billion off its market value, Hyundai’s stock slid 6.2%. Shares in its affiliate Kia Corp, which had been tipped in local media reports as the likely operational partner for Apple, tumbled 15% – a $5.5 billion hit.
The announcement brings the curtain down on weeks of internal divisions at Hyundai Motor Co Group – parent to both automakers – about the potential tieup, with some executives raising concerns about becoming a contract manufacturer for the U.S. tech giant in a tieup reminiscent of electronics firm Foxconn’s role in making device for Apple like the iPhone.
“We are receiving requests for cooperation in joint development of autonomous electric vehicles from various companies, but they are at early stage and nothing has been decided,” the automakers said on Monday, in compliance with stock market rules requiring regular updates to investors regarding market rumours. “We are not having talks with Apple on developing autonomous vehicles.”
Apple and Hyundai first started talks over a car partnership in 2018, another person familiar with the matter previously told Reuters. But progress was hampered by the South Korean automaker’s reticence on working with outsiders, the person said.
MacDailyNews Take: There are other fish in the sea, including those more suited to serving as “Apple’s Car’s Foxconn.” The fact of the matter is that, in the U.S. neither Hyundai nor Kia inspire thoughts of high quality, innovation, etc. for which Apple is known. It’s a bad match.