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Kia Seeks Partners to Build Apple Car in Georgia

Apple could be moving one step closer to entering the EV business.
(Artem Blinov)
(Artem Blinov)
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Kia Corp. has opened up talks with potential partners about building Apple’s highly anticipated electric car in Georgia, WSJ reports.

Why It Matters: If Hyundai-Kia can lock this down, it’s a huge victory — the proposal reportedly involves a multibillion-dollar investment. It also finally kicks Apple’s long-secret plans into motion, chasing the likes of Tesla as the automotive industry continues to shift electric.

  • With the closely-guarded Project Titan, Apple has flipped back and forth between doing an EV and autonomous driving. Though, after reports emerged of them engaging other automotive entities about EV production, it’s somewhat clear where the company is aiming.

Rumors Have Swirled: “Hyundai has talked to Apple about investing more than $3 billion in a deal that would see its subsidiary Kia begin building cars under the tech company’s brand as soon as 2024…Under such an agreement, up to 100,000 vehicles could be assembled in the first year in Georgia, where Kia has a factory.”

A Similar Business Model: If Apple picks Hyundai-Kia, car production could work similarly to the iPhone — using a third-party manufacturing partner. There’s a lot to gain for Apple from Hyundai-Kia’s supply chain and vehicle engineering. It frees up the tech giant to fine-tune its design, software and digital features.

The Final Word: Questions will persist about Apple’s ability to enter the space, and industry executives reacted to the now-and-then news with mixed feelings. But government pressure, especially in China, is pushing the business electric and it could be a major opportunity for Apple to upend another space just as it did with smartphones.

Justin Oh:

From Morning Cents on Jan 21:

“The iPhone was transformational because they delivered a product everyone uses, the mobile phone, and made it 10x better than the competition. Tesla ($TSLA) is doing the same thing with cars.

Apple seems to be struggling to deliver a potentially ubiquitous product that is 10x better than the rest. Apple Car is simply copying Tesla. And VR is a frontier product with a clear leader in Oculus.

I believe the best white space for Apple is in AR glasses. If they can perfect the experience there and combine it with the iPhone and Apple Watch experience, it could be a hit.

Although it’s encouraging to see Apple exploring new hardware products, which is their core competency, in search of their growth curve, it’s apparent that they are struggling to find a viable path that moves the needle.”

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