HYUNDAI, KIA Deny Speculation of Co-Developing AUTONOMOUS E-CAR with APPLE

Tech-savvy people would be aware of a certain history regarding tech giant Apple being sore with an electronic company in South Korea. Apple has been going after Samsung for the better part of a decade regarding designs used on smartphones, which the former has patented and alleged that the latter has copied. Litigation on the matter is ongoing to this day. But other Korean firms seem to have better relationships with Apple. For instances, earlier this year there has been talk that a Korean automaker and its subsidiary brand were collaborating with Apple on an electronic car with autonomous control.

Unfortunately according to The Verge, this rumor is not being substantiated in any way by Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia. While the two have somewhat confirmed that they have discussed prospects for an e-car they would design that will have autonomous systems courtesy of Apple, somehow that particular project has not materialized. The fact that Apple is involved is what got the speculation plenty of attention, with many observers opining that if the concept was realized, it will be similar to the previous killer-app breakthroughs of the company under the late great Steve Jobs, from the iPod to the iPhone.

If this Apple-Hyundai-Kia partnership for an autonomous e-car was indeed serious, then trouble began last January when Hyundai issued a public statement downplaying the rumors when they were first manifesting. This may have been a red flag for Apple, which tends to insist on complete developmental secrecy until something material can be introduced. There is also the matter as to whether the hypothetical e-car will be branded Hyundai or Kia. The latter was an independent automaker until Hyundai got a controlling stake in it. Meanwhile, Apple is believed to have broached the subject with other automakers, meaning if talks between them and Hyundai-Kia fall through, they would be easily replaced.

Business-wise the results of the uncertain tone from Hyundai on whether or not they and Kia were partnering with apple to make an autonomous e-car had significant consequences on the stock market. Hyundai shares dropped in value by 8.4% while Kia shares went down by 13.3%. Ming-chi Kuo, famous analyst of all things Apple, believes that even if the deal is salvaged and the project resume, any resulting e-vehicle will not go public until 2025. For now, all there is to the matter are talks.

Image courtesy of Nikkei Asia

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