SEOUL: South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co said on Monday it is not now in talks with Apple Inc on autonomous electric cars, just a month after it confirmed early-stage talks with the tech giant, sending the automaker’s shares skidding.
Wiping $3 billion off its market value, Hyundai’s stock slid 6.2 per cent. Shares in its affiliate Kia Corp, which had been tipped in local media reports as the likely operational partner for Apple, tumbled 15 per cent — a $5.5 billion hit.
The announcement brings the curtain down on weeks of internal divisions at Hyundai Motor Co Group — parent to both automakers — about the potential tieup, with some executives raising concerns about becoming a contract manufacturer for the US tech giant in a tie-up reminiscent of electronics firm Foxconn’s role in making device for Apple like the iPhone.
“We are receiving requests for cooperation in joint development of autonomous electric vehicles from various companies, but they are at early stage and nothing has been decided,” the automakers said on Monday, in compliance with stock market rules requiring regular updates to investors regarding market rumours.
“We are not having talks with Apple on developing autonomous vehicles.” Kia shares had jumped 61 per cent since Hyundai initially confirmed a local media report early in January that Apple and Hyundai were in discussions to develop self-driving electric vehicles by 2027 and develop batteries at US factories operated by either Hyundai or Kia.
“Apple and Hyundai are in discussion, but as it is at early stage, nothing has been decided,” Hyundai said, before releasing statements that removed all mentions of Apple but said Hyundai was receiving electric car cooperation requests from parties it didn’t identify. — Reuters