After All That, Hyundai Says It Isn’t in Talks to Build the Apple Car

Will they? Won't they? Right now, it looks like the latter.

After what’s probably best described as a painfully extended, reality-TV-style process regarding its reported involvement with the American tech giant, Hyundai now says: we are not building Apple’s cars. At least, that’s what sources close to the company told Bloomberg. The massive 23 percent boost in its shares that came with the rumored tie-up has since tumbled right back and the tangled timeline of who, if anyone, is building cars that may or may not exist, is scattered like pearls off a necklace.

Let’s break it all down. This starts somewhere in 2016 when Apple started saying it might make a car. In April that year, it looked like it was set to be leaked but by July it was delayed until 2021. In fact, as early as January 2016, it was already hitting setbacks, which is pretty much how everything has gone ever since. 

AP Images

By 2017, Apple had admitted the initiative existed and was allegedly furiously poaching Tesla employees to work on what was called Project Titan, designing a self-driving electric vehicle. Apple claimed the whole time that its aim was to make a game-changing product, the iPhone of cars, but there’s also never been many specifics about what that entails, exactly. Surely not just even bigger touchscreens.

Project Titan hit trouble in 2019 when the endless setbacks led to job losses. At the time, Apple claimed it was just restructuring the project but it seemed like the hammer had fallen on it, finally, and Project Titan came to a stop without producing anything. 

2020 was wild, so of course in the last days of the year Project Titan made a comeback. This time, things sounded serious with automakers actually involved and production schedules not totally in the realms of fiction as everything pointing to the car appearing in 2024. 

In January of 2021, Hyundai seemed to be getting on board with the project. In fact, it got so onboard it said they were partnering up, only to rapidly backtrack and say they also might not. Then they decided they might not like it at all, even though it had made the shares go up. As recently as last week it looked like the Kia factory in Georgia might be pumping out up to 100,000 Apple cars a year sometime soon and was approaching partner suppliers.

Now, however, Hyundai is definitely out. This week, sources close to the automaker told Bloomberg that it is not in discussions with Apple on building a self-driving car but that it might be talking to other companies. Just not Apple.

By next week, Project Titan could be over again or Apple might have bought Tesla, according to the self-driving algorithm presumably in charge of this news cycle.

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