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EV tie-up

Hyundai says not in talks with Apple over self-driving cars

Feb 08, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Apple Car concept image
Apple Car concept image

Hyundai Motor Group said on Monday it is not engaged in talks with Apple Inc. over the development of an autonomous electric vehicle, throwing cold water on market expectations that the South Korean automotive group would be selected as a partner of the Apple Car project.

“Our company is not in discussions with Apple over self-driving car development,” Hyundai Motor Co. said in a regulatory filing on Feb. 8.

Its sister company Kia Corp. simultaneously issued the same statement in a filing.

Shares of Hyundai Motor Group's units, including Hyundai Motor, Kia Corp. and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis, tumbled in response to the statement. 

Early last month, a Hyundai Motor official said multiple global automakers, including Hyundai, were in negotiations with the US firm for a possible EV tie-up, but stressed that the Korean company’s talks with Apple were just beginning.

Later in the day, Hyundai said in a public disclosure that it has been “receiving requests of cooperation from diverse companies regarding the development of autonomous EVs, but no decisions have been made as discussions are in the initial phase."

Expectations ran high about their possible tie-up after a Korean online news outlet reported last week that Apple would make an initial investment of 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion) in Korean carmaker Kia to produce self-driving electric cars from 2024.

The report added that Kia has been in working-level talks with Apple since last month and they are set to sign an agreement on the project later this month. The news report sent shares in Kia and South Korean automotive parts makers sharply higher in the day, with Kia shares jumping to their 13-month peak. 

But over the weekend, Bloomberg reported that discussions between Apple and the Hyundai Motor Group about building an electric vehicle had recently paused. Apple has been discussing similar plans with other automakers, according to the report.

Shares in Hyundai Motor dropped 6.21% to close at 234,000 won and Kia tumbled 14.98% to finish at 86,300 won, near the day's low of 86,000 won. Since the possible EV tie-up was reported on Jan. 8, Hyundai shares have slipped 5% by Monday's close, whereas Kia shares were up 26%.

Hyundai Mobis fell 8.65% to end at 322,000 won, with Hyundai Wia down 11.9% to 86,600 won. Hyundai Glovis, the group's logistics arm, slid 9.5% to 200,000 won, versus a 0.94% dip in the broader market.

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

(Updated on Feb. 9 to clarify Kia, part of the Hyundai Motor Group, issued the same statement as Hyundai Motor.)
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