The story of the Apple Car is a long, complex one. Apple, reportedly, was working on an autonomous car under the name "Project Titan" last decade. The project was then presumed to be on the back burner, if not dead entirely, after Apple laid off 200 employees affiliated with the project. Then late last year, it seemed to burst back into life; Reuters reported that Project Titan was back on in December, and that Apple wanted to get its very own car into production by 2024.
Meeting that ambitious timeline would probably require Apple — which, keep in mind, has never made a car before — to partner with an established automaker with established logistics and supply chains. At current valuations, Apple has enough cash on hand to buy Ford (or almost any other carmaker) if it wanted to. But according to a Korea Economic Daily report discovered by MacRumors, Apple may be in negotiations with Hyundai Motor Group to build the car.
At first, Hyundai confirmed the talks but later downplayed them, noting the discussion is "at its early stage" and "nothing has been decided." Hyundai then amended that statement with an even more vague one that left Apple's name out entirely.
If Apple were to attempt to build a new car to take on established automakers, Hyundai Motor Group — which has been on a hot streak of producing award-winning cars under its Hyundai, Genesis, and Kia brands for several years now — would seem like a natural fit. Partnering with Apple on an autonomous vehicle would be one of many futuristic projects Hyundai has on its plate, including launching its new Ioniq EV brand this year and a partnership with Ineos on hydrogen technology.
It's not certain why Apple would suddenly want back into the vehicle game in full force. But one might speculate that investors' mind-blowing evaluation of Tesla this year may have have them thinking that there's money to be made in melding Silicon Valley and carmaking.