Apple Car US production reportedly assigned to Hyundai subsidiary Kia

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 19
The long-rumored "Apple Car" could be produced in the United States by Kia, a report claims, with Hyundai said to be assigning manufacturing duties to its subsidiary.




Reports in early 2021 hinted that Apple and Hyundai were in talks to produce the "Apple Car," the first commercial self-driving vehicle in the United States. In a new report, the talks have apparently progressed to a point where it may not be Hyundai itself making the vehicle but another brand it owns.

According to South Korea's eDaily outlet, the discussions with Hyundai Motor Group have evolved to the point where it has internally arranged for Kia Motors to be in charge of the project. If Kia agrees to take control of the production side, this could lead to it using its factory in Georgia.

First spotted by iMore, the report claims the choice of using the Georgia facility will help Kia and Apple cooperate on the project.

The decision to offload the Apple Car to Kia instead of producing it under Hyundai is seemingly brand-reputation based. There are reportedly concerns that the Apple Car would basically turn whatever manufacturing partner it chooses into just an assembler instead of an established brand in its own right.

An industry source of the report suggests Hyundai's brand power is "strong," and that it would weaken the brand if it made Apple-branded vehicles instead of its own. By handing duties over to Kia, this wouldn't dilute the Hyundai brand.

The discussions are still supposedly ongoing, with Hyundai reportedly stating "It has not been decided at this early stage."

Reporting from eDaily has been questionable regarding Apple's product plans in the past. However, it has a good reputation for providing reliable information from within the South Korean automotive supply chain.

Initial reports about the tie-up mentioned the Georgia factory, though also the possibility of creating a new factory within the United States. Production was suggested to involve the creation of around 100,000 vehicles in 2024, but with the facility potentially having a capacity to produce 400,000 vehicles per year.

An Apple-created vehicle could surface quite a bit earlier, with supposed plans to release a "beta version" of the car in 2022.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 63
    The new Foxconn for the next new Apple product is born!
    tmayXedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 63
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,754member
    If this is all true, I'm very surprised to learn that Hyundai uses separate plant(s) to manufacture essentially the same car(s).
    I also doubt that Kia would need to "agree to take control of production". They'd be told they are producing the car.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 63
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    mike1 said:
    If this is all true, I'm very surprised to learn that Hyundai uses separate plant(s) to manufacture essentially the same car(s).
    I also doubt that Kia would need to "agree to take control of production". They'd be told they are producing the car.
    I don’t know the Hyundai/Kia models that well, is there a Kia made that Hyundai doesn’t offer? Maybe it is a Kia plant that also makes Hyundai’s? Just a wild guess but I could see where the minivan plant would have plenty of spare capacity right now due to the SUV craze. Not saying this is where minivans are made, just an example.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 63
    razorpit said:
    mike1 said:
    If this is all true, I'm very surprised to learn that Hyundai uses separate plant(s) to manufacture essentially the same car(s).
    I also doubt that Kia would need to "agree to take control of production". They'd be told they are producing the car.
    I don’t know the Hyundai/Kia models that well, is there a Kia made that Hyundai doesn’t offer? Maybe it is a Kia plant that also makes Hyundai’s? Just a wild guess but I could see where the minivan plant would have plenty of spare capacity right now due to the SUV craze. Not saying this is where minivans are made, just an example.
    Kia's plant in Georgia makes the Sorento, Optima,Telluride, and made the Hyundai Santa Fe (2010-16). 
    Hyundai's plant in Alabama makes the Sonata, Elantra, and made the Santa Fe (2007-10).  Will start making the Tucson and Santa Cruz in 2021.

    Since 2016, the Santa Fe production has been shared by both facilities. 
    Info from Thanks Obama! Wikipedia.
    tmayGeorgeBMaccornchipred oakmuthuk_vanalingamd_2
  • Reply 5 of 63
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 969member
    So, Designed By Apple In California, Assembled In China?
     :D 

    edit: nm, I thought that Kia was a Chinese car company this whole time  :(
    edited January 19
  • Reply 6 of 63
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,175member
    mike1 said:
    If this is all true, I'm very surprised to learn that Hyundai uses separate plant(s) to manufacture essentially the same car(s).
    I also doubt that Kia would need to "agree to take control of production". They'd be told they are producing the car.
    Hyundai and Kia are separate entities under the Hyundai Motor Group umbrella. It's a bit confusing.
    https://www.lethbridgehyundai.com/blog/2017/03/20/hyundai-history#:~:text=Hyundai Motor Company was founded,vehicle manufacturer in the world.
    muthuk_vanalingamJazzMonkey
  • Reply 7 of 63
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,005member
    mike1 said:
    If this is all true, I'm very surprised to learn that Hyundai uses separate plant(s) to manufacture essentially the same car(s).
    I also doubt that Kia would need to "agree to take control of production". They'd be told they are producing the car.
    Kia is a separate company with a separate board and leadership structure.  Hyundai owns just 35% of Kia and has 1 seat on the board, so yes, Kia would need to agree.  
    lkruppCloudTalkincornchipmuthuk_vanalingammike1watto_cobradk49anantksundaramchemengin1
  • Reply 8 of 63
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,472member
    Proposed models include Puma, Leopard, Mojave, Catalina, and the flagship of the line Big Sur which will have all the bells and whistles. Sure sounds better than Tesla’s S, X, Y, 3.
    SpamSandwichd_2watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 63
    lkrupp said:
    Proposed models include Puma, Leopard, Mojave, Catalina, and the flagship of the line Big Sur which will have all the bells and whistles. Sure sounds better than Tesla’s S, X, Y, 3.
    Jokes aside.  Tesla's model designations are intentional.  Listed properly, they would spell "sexy" in leetspeak.  S 3 X Y.  Fun fact, Model 3 only exists because Ford wouldn't let Telsa use Model E as a designation.  Rumor has it all of Tesla's vehicle together spell SEXY CARS.   
    Models S, 3, X, Y.  C- Cybertruck, A- All terrain quad, R- Roadster, S- Semi truck.  No idea if it's true, but it does seem like something 420 Elon would do.
    SpamSandwichcanukstormJWSCbageljoeyanantksundaramchemengin1
  • Reply 10 of 63
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,857member
    Makes sense. They got their start in automotive building other companies designs. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 63
    gatorguy said:
    mike1 said:
    If this is all true, I'm very surprised to learn that Hyundai uses separate plant(s) to manufacture essentially the same car(s).
    I also doubt that Kia would need to "agree to take control of production". They'd be told they are producing the car.
    Hyundai and Kia are separate entities under the Hyundai Motor Group umbrella. It's a bit confusing.
    https://www.lethbridgehyundai.com/blog/2017/03/20/hyundai-history#:~:text=Hyundai Motor Company was founded,vehicle manufacturer in the world.
    It is normal this days. For example under Volkswagen Group you have next to Volkswagen also Audi, Skoda, SEAT, Porsche .....
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 63
    lkrupp said:
    Proposed models include Puma, Leopard, Mojave, Catalina, and the flagship of the line Big Sur which will have all the bells and whistles. Sure sounds better than Tesla’s S, X, Y, 3.
    Jokes aside.  Tesla's model designations are intentional.  Listed properly, they would spell "sexy" in leetspeak.  S 3 X Y.  Fun fact, Model 3 only exists because Ford wouldn't let Telsa use Model E as a designation.  Rumor has it all of Tesla's vehicle together spell SEXY CARS.   
    Models S, 3, X, Y.  C- Cybertruck, A- All terrain quad, R- Roadster, S- Semi truck.  No idea if it's true, but it does seem like something 420 Elon would do.
    That sounds right, 
  • Reply 13 of 63
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 835member
    I know nothing about Kia. 

    So a quick scan of Kia website was in order. I can't image Apple producing a car that was not at least a Hybrid. If it's to be made in Georgia, that's only the Sorento, if a commenter above is correct.

    The only other such vehicles is the Niro brand: Niro EV, Niro plug-in Hybrid, and the plain Niro Hybrid. Where are these made?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 63
    larryjw said:
    I know nothing about Kia. 

    So a quick scan of Kia website was in order. I can't image Apple producing a car that was not at least a Hybrid. If it's to be made in Georgia, that's only the Sorento, if a commenter above is correct.

    The only other such vehicles is the Niro brand: Niro EV, Niro plug-in Hybrid, and the plain Niro Hybrid. Where are these made?
    Sounds as if you're looking at this as if it's a co-branding project.  As in an Apple branded Niro for example. Apple isn't looking to simply attach their tech to a Kia.  I don't think that's what either company has in mind.  I think the relationship will be Kia serving as an OEM Manufacturer, like Foxconn or Wistron.  Kia as a contract manufacturer makes sense.  They are located in the US, have capacity, and can scale tooling and machining to contract manufacture Apple's design specifications without affecting Hyundai's growing reputation.  

    Another example of a OEM manufacturing by an established automaker is General Motors is going to build 2 eSUV's for Honda (1 Honda, 1 Acura).  No co-branding, just an OEM platform partnership.  https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a35141150/gm-honda-acura-electric-car-building-plans/
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 63
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,827member
    I think that Apple partnering with a traditional automobile builder that has its own workforce, ideally one with major presence in the US, is preferable to the alternative, i.e., contract manufacturing wherever labor and manufacturing costs are lowest. Foxconn and Geely (a Chinese auto builder) have recently teamed up to focus on contract manufacturing for future autonomous and electric vehicles. There is already more contract manufacturing and assembly and joint manufacturing/assembly partnerships happening in the automotive industry than most people realize, but it has not yet disrupted the industry to the same degree that contract manufacturing has impacted other industries, like consumer electronics.

    That said, moving more automotive manufacturing to "outside" contractors doesn't necessarily have to be a losing proposition for US jobs, not if US based plants are the "outsiders." I've said it before and I'll say it again, the dead show pony Foxconn fiasco in Wisconsin would be a great location for siting a Foxconn automotive assembly plant. They've already made the infrastructure investments, have ready access to the right kind of labor force, and are located close to many suppliers involved with advanced manufacturing and automation. It's a much better fit than any of the previously proposed uses of that major investment that's teetering on the brink of total failure.
  • Reply 16 of 63
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 835member
    larryjw said:
    I know nothing about Kia. 

    So a quick scan of Kia website was in order. I can't image Apple producing a car that was not at least a Hybrid. If it's to be made in Georgia, that's only the Sorento, if a commenter above is correct.

    The only other such vehicles is the Niro brand: Niro EV, Niro plug-in Hybrid, and the plain Niro Hybrid. Where are these made?
    Sounds as if you're looking at this as if it's a co-branding project.  As in an Apple branded Niro for example. Apple isn't looking to simply attach their tech to a Kia.  I don't think that's what either company has in mind.  I think the relationship will be Kia serving as an OEM Manufacturer, like Foxconn or Wistron.  Kia as a contract manufacturer makes sense.  They are located in the US, have capacity, and can scale tooling and machining to contract manufacture Apple's design specifications without affecting Hyundai's growing reputation.  

    Another example of a OEM manufacturing by an established automaker is General Motors is going to build 2 eSUV's for Honda (1 Honda, 1 Acura).  No co-branding, just an OEM platform partnership.  https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a35141150/gm-honda-acura-electric-car-building-plans/
    I'm not thinking of co-branding. I would seem obvious that, if my guess is correct and Apple will be going with an EV Hybrid, they'd be looking at a factory which has existing infrastructure to make such a vehicle for Apple. If they have a number of lines for the Sorento, then these lines would either need to be "duplicated" for Apple, or reconfigured for Apple -- by necessity, then, an Apple vehicle would initially have much in common with the Sorento. If the Niro vehicles are made elsewhere, it's likely Apple's vehicle would not have too much in common with the Niro. 
    edited January 19
  • Reply 17 of 63
    XedXed Posts: 1,029member
    I'm not sure why so many find Kia and Hyundai connection confusing. They acquired Kia (and LG Semi-Conductor) in 1997 when Japan's economy collapsed. It would be like not understanding how Apple can make both AirPods Max and Beats Solo3 Wireless.
    edited January 19 cornchipinsync88razorpitwatto_cobrachemengin1
  • Reply 18 of 63
    larryjw said:
    larryjw said:
    I know nothing about Kia. 

    So a quick scan of Kia website was in order. I can't image Apple producing a car that was not at least a Hybrid. If it's to be made in Georgia, that's only the Sorento, if a commenter above is correct.

    The only other such vehicles is the Niro brand: Niro EV, Niro plug-in Hybrid, and the plain Niro Hybrid. Where are these made?
    Sounds as if you're looking at this as if it's a co-branding project.  As in an Apple branded Niro for example. Apple isn't looking to simply attach their tech to a Kia.  I don't think that's what either company has in mind.  I think the relationship will be Kia serving as an OEM Manufacturer, like Foxconn or Wistron.  Kia as a contract manufacturer makes sense.  They are located in the US, have capacity, and can scale tooling and machining to contract manufacture Apple's design specifications without affecting Hyundai's growing reputation.  

    Another example of a OEM manufacturing by an established automaker is General Motors is going to build 2 eSUV's for Honda (1 Honda, 1 Acura).  No co-branding, just an OEM platform partnership.  https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a35141150/gm-honda-acura-electric-car-building-plans/
    I'm not thinking of co-branding. I would seem obvious that, if my guess is correct and Apple will be going with an EV Hybrid, they'd be looking at a factory which has existing infrastructure to make such a vehicle for Apple. If they have a number of lines for the Sorento, then these lines would either need to be "duplicated" for Apple, or reconfigured for Apple -- by necessity, then, an Apple vehicle would initially have much in common with the Sorento. If the Niro vehicles are made elsewhere, it's likely Apple's vehicle would not have too much in common with the Niro. 
    It doesn't really matter what types of vehicles are produced in the Kia factory (or any modern car factory) now. They can be tooled to assemble just about any kind of car. Specialized components or sub-assemblies (including motors, batteries, and entire drivetrains) can be brought in from other suppliers (either foreign or domestic). As a matter of fact, many if not most foreign car assembly plants are essentially "screwdriver" plants that focus on final assembly of major components manufactured elsewhere.
    edited January 19 CloudTalkinJWSCdk49
  • Reply 19 of 63
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,857member
    larryjw said:

    -- by necessity, then, an Apple vehicle would initially have much in common with the Sorento. If the Niro vehicles are made elsewhere, it's likely Apple's vehicle would not have too much in common with the Niro. 

    Nnnah. I don’t think so. 

    Other manufacturers just do that because it makes things easier/faster/cheaper to program the bots so they can sell one model at a lower cost and an identical model with slightly different front bumper styling for 20% more. But at the end of the day, they’re just assembly robots. You just reprogram them to build the car you’re making. Yeah, I realize that’s an oversimplification, but, also, it’s kinda how it works. A line of robots is a line of robots. The rest is just a bunch of people that you teach how to do what you want them to do. 

    I seriously doubt Apple is going to go “ok well now we’ve got our manufacturing partner locked in; alright guys, we need to whip something up as close to the Sorento as possible”! I imagine it’s more like they go to potential manufacturing partners and say “here’s what we’re looking at building, are you capable and interested in reconfiguring a line or two and build it for us”? 

    It’s not like Apple is inexperienced in setting up custom manufacturing lines. Different scale, sure, but from machining laptops out of solid blocks of aluminum, to custom cylinder extrusions for desktops, to exotic materials, to bespoke finishing processes.. I’m pretty sure Apple isn’t looking to make a KIA clone.
    muthuk_vanalingamJWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 63
    Xed said:
    I'm not sure why so many find Kia and Hyundai connection confusing. They acquired Kia (and LG Semi-Conductor in 1997) when Japan's economy collapsed. It would be like not understanding how Apple can make both AirPods Max and Beats Solo3 Wireless.
    FINALLY ...someone who gets it,I had to explain this to 5/5 people who asked me did I read this article lol
    fastasleepwatto_cobrachemengin1
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