Apple Rumored to Invest Billions Into Kia Motors

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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apple rumored to invest billions into kia motors

While partnering with other industries is essential for the automotive sector, the last few years has shown most nameplates cozying up with the dominant tech firms at a breakneck pace. Just this week, we learned that Ford will be equipping future models with the Android operating system (courtesy of Google) and it wasn’t long before that we were discussing BMW’s arrangement to integrate its business with Amazon Could Services. Even Taiwan’s Foxconn has shown itself willing to get involved with China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group — which owns Volvo Cars, Geely Automotive, Lynk & Co, Proton, Lotus Cars, London Electric Vehicle Company, and more.

Now, rumors are swirling that Apple is about to make a gigantic investment into Kia Motors after Korean outlet Dong-a Ilbo (The East Asia Daily) reported that the duo had plans to manufacturer vehicles at the automaker’s American facility in Georgia. The paper stated that tech giant was readying an estimated 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion USD) investment in exchange for Kia building 100,000 electric vehicles per year. However, the mere suggestion has already made Kia money by boosting its share price by over 15 percent on Tuesday.

Though both Hyundai and Apple declined to comment on the validity of any partnership rumors, the latter was known to have been considering options to rejuvenate its stalled electric vehicle program. In fact, Bloomberg noted that market speculation had already begun on a prospective Apple tie-up well before the Kia rumor surfaced.

From Bloomberg:

Reports of Apple considering expanding into vehicles have led to speculation on potential manufacturing partners. The technology giant’s car-development work is still at an early stage, and the company will take at least half a decade to launch an autonomous EV, people with knowledge of the efforts have told Bloomberg News. That suggests the company isn’t in a hurry with partnership decisions.

Last month, Hyundai Motor Co., an affiliate of Kia, backed away from a statement that said it was in talks with Apple, revising it to say only it had been contacted by potential partners for the development of autonomous EVs. The news pushed stock in Hyundai up almost 20 [percent] on the day. Kia shares are now at their highest since 1997.

We’re doubtful that the iPhone purveyor is currently in a position to fast track such a large project, even with help from one of the world’s largest automakers. But Dong-a Ilbo suggested there’s a chance that a deal could be signed as early as February 17th with the first Apple Cars going into production in 2024.

[Image: Kia Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Feb 03, 2021

    The idea is that Kia or Huyndai build cars for Apple. It is not like Apple provides features for Kia/Hyundai. Apple is not Google. Apple's image does not match Kia IMO. Steve Jobs would not cheapen Apple brand that way. If Elon Musk is able to build cars why Apple cannot? Just hire right people.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Feb 05, 2021

      "If Elon Musk is able to build cars why Apple cannot?" Several reasons: 1. Passion. Tesla has a patent on this. EV pretenders just talk, and recent history shows how much passion it takes to push through the difficulties to reach viability. A couple shots of money and some smart people isn't enough. 2. The car market is saturated, like pizza shops in my zip code. 3. Building EVs is a great way to lose money for many years. Are Apple's bean counters interested in that? 4. Resources - Apple can't get raw materials any better than the rest of the world's mfrs, and anyone going to work on a mythical Apple car program should think about its long-term prospects. It could actually be hard to fill key positions. 5. Image - Would building cars elevate Apple's image? That's debatable. Cars are a lot more complex than consumer electronics, and complaints and lawsuits follow every car ever made.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Feb 06, 2021

    Magic 8-Ball says: "Reply hazy, try again." A couple of perspectives: [Some of the comments (on the WSJ page) on the WSJ article are priceless - I mean predictable] (Pssst... the secret decoder ring looks a lot like a skateboard.) Anyway, tiny little Apple and Kia-Hyundai-Telluride-Genesis-Ioniq can do what they want in 2024, it doesn't matter, because GM intends to reinvent itself by 2035... or 2040. Here's some background music* while you ponder, inspired by the California of the South: *Recorded in a different place and time, 1997 Switzerland (when GM was #1 on the Fortune 500, Apple didn't crack the top 10, and you could lease an EV1 with lead-acid batteries). [We could talk about who did and did not make 'phones' in 1997, but who has the time? We're all busy making conventional cars in the conventional way.]

  • 285exp If the conversion to EVs was really so vital to solve an existential climate change crisis, it wouldn’t matter whether they were built by US union workers or where the batteries and battery materials came from.
  • El scotto Another EBPosky, "EVs are Stoopid, prove to me water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius" article.It was never explained if the rural schools own the buses or if the school bus routes are contracted out. If the bus routes are contracted out, will Carpenter or Bluebird offer an electric school bus? Flexmatt never stated the range of brand-unspecified school bus. Will the min-mart be open at the end of the 179-mile drive? No cell coverage? Why doesn't the bus driver have an emergency sat phone?Two more problems Mr. Musk could solve.
  • RICK Long time Cadillac admirer with 89 Fleetwood Brougham deElegance and 93 Brougham, always liked Eldorado until downsized after 76. Those were the days. Sad to see what now wears Cadillac name.
  • Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
  • Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.