Apple to sign partnership deal with Hyundai Motor on autonomous electric car manufacturing

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Apple and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor are planning a partnership deal to start manufacturing autonomous vehicles in the United States around 2024, Korea IT News reported.

Hyundai Motor previously revealed it was in talks with Apple. Shares of the Korean car manufacturing company surged nearly 20% after the automaker announced the early-stage talks with Apple.

“We understand that Apple is in discussion with a variety of global automakers, including Hyundai Motor. As the discussion is at its early stage, nothing has been decided,” a representative from Hyundai Motor told CNBC’s Chery Kang.

The latest report by the Korean local media did not include details, such as production location and capacity and the timeframe for signing the agreement and launching the autonomous cars.

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But the Korea IT New report previously said that the electric cars will be manufactured at Kia Motors’ factory in Georgia, or the companies will invest jointly in a new factory in the United States to produce 100,000 vehicles around 2024. The full annual capacity of the proposed plant would be 400,000 vehicles, according to Reuters.

For several years, rumors about an Apple car have been on the news, but nothing concrete has happened.

“Over the last six years we have seen many twists and turns in Apple’s automotive ambitions,” analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe from Wedbush Securities, said in a note.

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“Project Titan as its been known within the halls of Cupertino has ultimately been significantly scaled down from its initial ramp a few years ago and now appears to be front and center again on the radar screen of the Street,” they said.

In a similar development, Hyundai Motor Group and its chairman signed a $1.1 billion deal with SoftBank Group Corp last month to own a controlling stake in the American robotics design company, Boston Dynamics.

The South Korean automaker said the deal would help it expand operations into designing self-driving cars, drones and delivery robots as it seeks to reduce reliance on traditional car manufacturing.