TechTalk Kia K5 sedan_2021

Published on January 22nd, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Apple And Kia To Develop Self Driving Electric Cars

First it was Hyundai and then now its Kia.

Last week on January 11thApple Inc. was reported to have been in talks with Hyundai Motor Company of South Korea to develop and manufacture electric vehicles (EV) with autonomous driving capabilities. This comes after there were reports in December 2020 that, after scaling back its vehicle-related research and development (R&D) efforts in 2019, Apple is now doing a restart and wants to start production by 2024. Meanwhile, Hyundai has been hinting on its move to autonomous driving technology since early last year. In March 2020, Hyundai announced its USD1.6 billion joint venture with Dublin based Aptiv, which was it biggest overseas investment to date. Then in August last year the project was given the name Motional.

BHP diesel

Project Titan

Apple has been exploring its entry into the EV market through its secretive Project Titan, which was launched in 2014 but eventually downsized in 2019.

Project Kia Motors

Reports in early 2021 hinted that Apple and Hyundai were in talks to produce the “Apple Car,” the first commercial self-driving vehicle in the United States. In a new report, the talks have apparently progressed to a point where it may not be Hyundai itself making the vehicle but another brand it owns. 

Now, this week the tides have changed and the long-rumored ‘Apple Car’ will now be produced in the United States by Kia Motors. Yes, Kia Motors is owned by the Hyundai Motor Group and it seems that the management at Hyundai are assigning the manufacturing duties of this Apple EV to its subsidiary. The news, which broke just a day ago caused a rally of Kia shares in America pushing its value up.

Why So

An industry source of the report suggests Hyundai’s brand power is “strong,” and that it would weaken the brand if it made Apple-branded vehicles instead of its own. By handing duties over to Kia, this wouldn’t dilute the Hyundai brand.

The discussions are still supposedly ongoing, with Hyundai reportedly stating “It has not been decided at this early stage.”

A report from Korean newspaper ‘eDaily’ talking about the tie-up mentioned the Georgia factory, though also the possibility of creating a new factory within the United States. Production was suggested to involve the creation of around 100,000 vehicles in 2024, but with the facility potentially having a capacity to produce 400,000 vehicles per year.

To date, Kia has not released an official statement on this working relationship and Hyundai Motor has also no official statement on this. 

Kia K5 sedan_2021

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