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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Kia is reportedly seeking partners to build Apple's electric vehicles in Georgia

Kia is reportedly seeking partners to build Apple's electric vehicles in Georgia

Car company Kia, which is owned by Hyundai, is seeking local partners to build an Apple vehicle in Georgia, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Kia is reportedly seeking a production partner to build Apple's electric vehicles in Georgia, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Apple has reportedly been in talks with Hyundai, Kia's parent company, about a partnership on the vehicles. Last week, Hyundai executives were reportedly "agonizing" over the deal.

Apple and Hyundai were reportedly close to a deal this week, CNBC reported on Wednesday. But Bloomberg reported on Friday that Apple and Hyundai had "paused" their discussions. It wasn't clear when they'd resume, the report said.

Apple didn't return a request for comment on Saturday.

If Kia finds a local partner to build an Apple vehicle in Georgia, it's unclear how involved Hyundai would be in making the vehicles.

"We are not a company which manufactures cars for others. It is not like working with Apple would always produce great results," an unnamed Hyundai executive told Reuters last week.

Apple hasn't publicly acknowledged that it's been in talks with auto manufacturers, but details have leaked to the press. Hyundai and Apple have been talking about a deal since at least 2018, according to Reuters. And the company is in talks with other manufacturers for smaller parts, the Journal reported.

'Project Titan," as the car is known internally, has been making news for years. The company hired thousands to work on the project, before reportedly scaling back the project and laying some of them off in 2016. In the last few years, Apple poached employees from rival electric car maker Tesla.

The company may have been working on an electric van. The vehicle project laid off or reassigned about 200 workers in 2019. The vehicle project has led to an ever-growing list of patents, which hint at some potential features.

South Korean media reported on January 10 that Hyundai and Apple planned to sign a deal by March 2021. They were planning to make a "beta" version of an Apple electric vehicle in 2022, then start full-scale production in 2024, according to the report.
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