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Apple managed to stuff up the Kia deal

by on08 February 2021

Too interested in control

Fruity cargo cult Apple has lost the opportunity to make its self-driving car because it did not want to change its way of working with Hyundai.

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor has walked away from talks with Apple on autonomous electric cars, just a month after it confirmed early-stage talks with the tech giant.  While the Tame Apple press talks about how Hyundai's share price took a hit for not obeying the will of the Spirit of Steve Jobs, no one appears to be reporting how Apple once again failed to get a car maker interested in making its car because it did not want to give up control of the project.

As recently as last week, media outlets including CNBC reported that a deal was close to being finalised. One South Korean report said the two companies were set to sign the deal in two weeks.

The Tame Apple Press has been blaming Hyundai for the deal falling through pointing out that the car maker is  traditionally known for its reluctance to work with outsiders, making engines, transmissions and even its own steel in-house in a vertically integrated supply chain as South Korea’s second-largest conglomerate. Rumours also suggested that Apple was furious when the plans leaked to the press.

But what appears to have killed the deal was that Hyundai should be an equipment manufacturer, rather than a strategic partner. Kevin Yoo, an analyst at eBEST Investment & Securities, said, “It seems clear that Hyundai Motor Group has not been too happy with dealing with Apple. They made it clear that they do not want to be treated just as Apple’s supplier or manufacturer”.

In other words there was little in the deal for Hyundai.  While such deals work in the tech industry they do not in the car industry.  This is a lesson which Apple has consistantly failed to understand and one of the reasons that no other car makers have been keen to go near an Apple car project.


Last modified on 08 February 2021
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