Hyundai may play a starring role in Project Titan

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SEOUL – Hyundai may be at an early stage of talks with Apple after the Korea Economic Daily reported that the two were in talks to work together on electric cars and batteries, boosting Hyundai’s share of about 20%.

“Apple and Hyundai are in talks, but they are at an early stage and nothing has been decided yet,” Hyundai said in a statement to Reuters.

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Sources told Reuters in December that Apple, whose automotive efforts had been uneven since 2014, is now aiming for 2024 to produce a passenger car that would incorporate its own breakthrough battery technology.

The news hit Tesla stocks and sent those of some current or potential partners to Apple higher. At the time, analysts said that the potential of such a development hinges on Apple (or a potential partner) making progress in battery technology. Now we know that Hyundai is one of those potential partners.

“We understand Apple is in talks with a large number of global automakers, including Hyundai Motor. As the discussion is still in its early stages, nothing has been decided yet,” a Hyundai spokesman told CNBC:

In a statement just obtained by @ CNBC’s @cherykang, the auto giant Hyundai says:

“We understand that Apple is in talks with several global car manufacturers, including Hyundai Motor.
Since the discussion is still in its early stages, nothing has been decided yet. “

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The iPhone maker’s car efforts, known as Project Titan, have been uneven since 2014, when it first started designing its own vehicle from scratch. At one point, Apple withdrew the effort to focus on software and revised its goals. Doug Field, an Apple veteran who had worked at Tesla, returned in 2018 to oversee the project and fired 190 people from the team in 2019.

Since then, Apple has made enough progress to now build a vehicle for consumers, said two people familiar with the effort, who asked not to be named because Apple’s plans are not public. Apple’s goal of building a personal vehicle for the mass market contrasts with rivals such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, which built robotic taxis to carry passengers for a self-driving service.

This article contains reports from Reuters.

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