Hyundai Executives Unsure of Apple Car Partnership

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 29 Jan 2021

apple car c1

There have been a lot of rumors about the Apple Car in recent weeks. Most recent rumors have claimed that Apple could be partnering with Hyundai for a self-driving electric vehicle, with another one suggesting that Hyundai could ask Apple to partner with Kia which it has a major stake in. Now, a new report indicates that Hyundai executives are still undecided on whether the company should partner with Apple or not.

Hyundai executives are not willing to become a contract manufacturer for Apple as this is something the company has not done before.

“We are agonizing over how to do it, whether it is good to do it or not,” said a Hyundai executive aware of the internal discussions on the tie-up with Apple. “We are not a company which manufactures cars for others. It is not like working with Apple would always produce great results.”

Apple has never acknowledged that it is in talks with Hyundai or other carmakers over Apple Car. However, Hyundai confirmed in a statement earlier this month that it is in preliminary talks with Apple for building the Apple Car in the United States. As per the report, both companies first started talking about the Apple Car back in 2018 when the Apple Car initiative at Apple was being led by Alexdan Hitzinger. There has not been much progress since then as Hyundai is reluctant to “open up.”

“It is really difficult (for Hyundai) to open up,” this person said, adding that the South Korean company would likely to have to replace some executives to avoid a culture clash under any partnership with Apple. “Apple is the boss. They do their marketing, they do their products, they do their brand. Hyundai is also the boss. That does not really work,” the person said.

Apple is looking for another Foxconn to assemble its Apple Car as it wants to source its own technology, shell, frame, drive trains, and more. While assembling cars for Apple might initially help Hyundai or Kia, it will be detrimental to the brand’s image in the long run. Hyundai wants to be more than just Foxconn as it wants to collaborate with Apple on self-driving car technology, provide it access to its set of suppliers, and more.

Reputed Apple journalist Mark Gurman has reported that Apple Car is still at least half a decade away, with many plans regarding the vehicle still not finalized inside Apple.

[Via Reuters]