Hyundai cautions Apple electric car partnership: report

  • Reuters reported that some executives at Hyundai are wary of partnering with Apple to manufacture electric vehicles.
  • In early January, Hyundai confirmed that it was in “early-stage” talks with Apple about an electric car.
  • “We are not a company that makes cars for others,” one execution reportedly said.
  • For more stories visit the Business Insider homepage.

According to a Reuters report, South Korean car giant Hyundai executives said whether the company should partner with Apple to make electric vehicles.

Hyundai admitted in early January that it was discussing with Apple at an “early stage” about making electric cars. But some execs are wary of becoming a contract manufacturer for the American tech giant, an executive familiar with internal discussions told Reuters.

“We are not a company that makes cars for others,” he said. “It’s not like working with Apple, it will always produce great results.”

Apple uses contract manufacturers for other products: Foxconn, a Taiwanese company, for example, makes its own iPhones.

South Korean media reported on January 10 that Hyundai and Apple planned to sign an agreement by March 2021, produce a “beta” version of an Apple electric vehicle in 2022 and possibly begin full-scale production in 2024.

Apple has never accepted discussions with Hyundai, and declined to comment for Reuters on the latest report.

Hyundai, with additional production capacity, did not provide an update on negotiations with Apple during Tuesday’s earnings call, in which it reported its best quarterly profit in three years. Insider has asked Hyundai for comment.

Those close to the discussion told Reuters that if an agreement was reached, Hyundai or Kia – owned by the Hyundai Motor Company group – would make electric cars, designed, sold and branded by Apple.

Kia, Not Hyundai, Can Build Cars

Another Hyundai told Reuters that “Tech companies like Google and Apple want us (contract phone manufacturers) to be like Foxconn.

“A collaboration may initially help increase the brand image of Hyundai or Kia. But in the mid or long term, we will provide shells just for cars, and Apple will mind.”

A group at Hyundai Motor Co. said that Hyundai Motor Company would like Kia to partner with Apple, not Hyundai “being tentatively decided”.

It said: “The group is concerned that the Hyundai brand will remain just Apple’s contract manufacturer, which will not help Hyundai in its effort to create a more premium image with its Genesis brand.”

The Genesis brand, which includes the recently released Genesis G90 sedan, includes Hyundai’s most luxury cars.

The person said that Kia has additional manufacturing capacity at its factory in Georgia.

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