Apple Rumored to Invest Billions Into Kia Motors

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Image: Kia Motors

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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]

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