After spilling the beans that it was in talks with Apple over its heavily rumored Apple Car, Hyundai and its affiliate Kia have both said they aren’t in talks with Apple.
“Our company is not proceeding with talks with Apple on the development of autonomous driving vehicle,” Nikkei Asia reports Hyundai and Kia as saying in separate filings on Monday. “Our company is receiving requests from multiple companies to jointly develop autonomous EV cars, but nothing has been decided yet, since it is in the early stage.”
According to Bloomberg, Hyundai’s most recent statement is similar to the one it issued a month ago after it let it slip to media that it was in talks with Apple. A couple of hours later, Hyundai furiously backpedaled to say it was in talks with numerous potential partners. Both Hyundai and Kia’s shares fell 6.21% and 15%, respectively, in Seoul following today’s news.
This isn’t exactly a surprising end to the back-and-forth between Hyundai and Apple this past month. While we can’t know for sure, Apple is a company notoriously obsessed with secrecy, and Hyundai’s gaffe wasn’t likely to please tight-lipped Apple executives. In late January, it was also reported that Hyundai executives were beginning to have second doubts about the potential partnership, citing concerns that it would leave Apple with all the glory while Hyundai did the work making the car. At the same time, there were reports that the Apple Car’s chassis would be based on Hyundai’s E-GMP platform. Just last week, CNBC reported that Hyundai was super close to sealing a deal with Apple, with Kia’s Georgia factory set to manufacture the Apple car. But this was all before news leaked this past Friday that Apple purportedly hit pause on talks with Hyundai and Kia.
It’s possible that Apple is cheesed at all the rumors flying left and right about the Apple Car, and is waiting until the chatter—and media interest—dies down. After all, the fact that Apple’s been interested in car tech is Silicon Valley’s worst-kept secret. Leaks, rumors, and speculation have periodically popped up in tech media since the project quietly launched in 2015.
Of course, just because it hasn’t worked out with Hyundai doesn’t mean this is the last we’ll hear of the Apple Car. Nikkei reported last week that Apple was in talks with at least six Japanese automakers. And, if the past month is any indication, we’re in for years of Apple Car rumors until the thing finally launches. How long will that be? Well, while some have said Apple is planning to launch in 2024, dependable Apple prognosticators have warned that that timeline is a bit ambitious. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the earliest we’d see an Apple Car is 2025, with a launch of 2028 or later much more likely. Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman cited unnamed Apple sources as saying the project will take at least five to seven years. So buckle up folks, it’s gonna be a long ride.