Nissan Denies Reports of Apple Car Partnership Discussions

Apple is expected to partner with a third-party car maker to build its rumored self-driving car with reports surfacing in January suggesting that Apple was eyeing Hyundai to be the official partner for Apple Car. Subsequent reports suggest Apple is actively pursuing all of its options and talking to a number of different manufacturers.

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In the latest round of speculation, Apple reportedly approached Nissan in the last few months about a potential partnership for a self-driving car, according to a paywalled Financial Times report. The report states that negotiations between the two companies were "brief" and that discussions did not make their way to higher executive or leadership levels in either company due to disagreements over the specifics of the Apple Car.

It's worth noting that an older report by Nikkei Asia cited Nissan as one of at least six Japanese automakers that Apple is eyeing for the Apple Car. The report didn't, however, provide specific details as to the progress of any talks, or if Apple is ultimately siding with one carmaker over the others.

Nissan and Apple reportedly clashed over how a partnership would actually play out. Nissan reportedly was concerned that a deal with Apple would downgrade Nissan to simply a "hardware supplier." The Apple Car is expected to be fully branded by Apple, including Apple software and design. While Apple holds the in-house ability to design its own software and hardware, it's not positioned to build the actual hardware at a mass scale, which is why a partnership is considered to be a hallmark of the project itself.

During an earnings presentation, Nissan's COO Ashwani Gupta stated that Nissan is open to partnerships, but only if the opposite party adapts to Nissan's services, not vice versa. The COO said that Nissan has its own customer base to satisfy and that it will not "change the way" it makes cars.

Earlier in the year following reports of a potential tie-up with Apple, Hyundai's shares surged by more than 25% but remained volatile after negotiations came to a standstill. Attempting to avoid from a similar scenario, Nissan quickly and unequivocally confirmed in a statement that it's "not in talks" with Apple but remains open to working with other companies.

Apple remains a tightly secretive company that rarely confirms the existence of unreleased products and projects. The statement by Hyundai earlier in the year confirming it's in negotiations with the tech giant undoubtedly upset Apple executives as it was seen as a confirmation that Apple is pursuing a partnership for a potential self-driving car. The statement was quickly reworded to remove mention of Apple, and soon after, talks between the two came to a screeching halt.

Despite the plentiful number of reports about Apple's self-driving car, sources suggest that we won't be seeing it on the road until at least 2026. Bloomberg reports that the Apple Car is "nowhere near production stage," and that a release is at least half a decade away. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, one of the most reputable analysts for Apple, still believes that despite Hyundai's mishap, Apple will ultimately side with the carmaker as the official partner for its self-driving car ambitions.

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Top Rated Comments

justiny Avatar
44 months ago
Each new month moving forward will present another report stating “Apple is rumored to be in talks with (insert automaker) about an Apple car”.

By 2025, every auto manufacturer on the planet will be mentioned and we will be no closer to confirmation of anything.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nawr Avatar
44 months ago
I want to preemptively deny any speculations that I would be partnering with Apple to manufacture their car either.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bug-Creator Avatar
44 months ago

Apple is slowly realizing Tesla is becoming the one to partner with.
That would be the least sensible option.

- Apple needs a partner that has a support network and can produce both quanity and quality

- Apple would provide the IT/UI so someone who is lagging behind here makes sense

- Apple seems to care very much about a partner not running his mouth ........ Elon Musk.......
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheNotch Avatar
44 months ago
No self-respecting car makers who have long and rich histories of innovating cars want to be seen as simply a supplier to Apple. Doing so would greatly hurt their reputation and potentially lose their loyal customers.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Abazigal Avatar
44 months ago
First rule about working with Apple - you don’t talk about working with Apple.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArPe Avatar
44 months ago

Apple is slowly realizing Tesla is becoming the one to partner with.
Elon is involved in a lot of market fraud and nobody in this industry wants to partner with his toxic behavior.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)