Apple’s search for a automaker to join the tech giant’s project to build autonomous vehicles continues, following reports that discussions have broken up with
Shares of the Japanese auto giant fell about 3% in the Tokyo trade.
The shares were not traded in the United States on Monday due to the Presidents’ Day holiday.
The backstory. There has been speculation about Apple’s vehicle ambitions since 2015, when The Wall Street Journal reported that it was preparing to take on Tesla. The iPhone maker has been very secretive about its plans for the “Project Titan,” confirmed in 2016, which has evolved to encompass autonomous or autonomous electric vehicles.
Analysts suspect the Silicon Valley behemoth would partner with an existing automaker to break into the capital-intensive vehicle industry.
On February 8, Korean automakers
He said they were no longer in discussions with Apple about an autonomous electric vehicle project, following widespread speculation from the press and analysts that a deal was near. That news had sent Hyundai shares down more than 6% and Kia shares 15%, wiping out a combined market value of $ 8.5 billion from the two companies.
The next day, Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida was pressured on a pending call about whether Apple had approached the company for a collaboration. Uchida avoided addressing Apple directly, but indicated that Nissan could partner with technology companies to build the next generation of cars.
Read also:An Apple car could disrupt the auto industry as much as iPhone technology. This is what you need to know.
What’s new. Nissan confirmed Monday that it was not in talks with Apple, but said it was open to exploring collaborations and partnerships to accelerate the auto industry.
The Financial Times had previously reported that there were discussions between the two groups about a partnership, but that talks had stalled over a possible brand. According to the report, the discussions did not reach higher management levels.
A source close to Nissan told Agence France-Presse that “when you make a product under the Apple brand, you give your soul and your profit margins to Apple” and that Nissan “was not interested in giving Apple the best deal. . “
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Looking to the future. It makes sense for Apple to partner with a strong automaker to make its EV dreams come true. With Nissan crossed out, following Hyundai and Kia, that list is shrinking.
On February 7, just before Hyundai and Kia confirmed they were not involved with Apple, veteran technology analyst Daniel Ives of the investment firm Wedbush said it was a question of “when not if” Apple entered the race. of electric vehicles. Ives estimated the 85% chance that the tech giant will announce a relevant partnership or collaboration in the next three to six months.
Ives singled out Hyundai as the most likely option, with
—Which also makes Audi and
“As the next best option.” With Hyundai out, investors should keep an eye on the German giant. The analyst also floated Tesla and
as possible candidates.
Barron Apple and Nissan have been contacted for comment.