South Korea’s Kia, a multinational automotive manufacturer headquartered in Seoul, is seeking partners to assemble the Apple electric car in Georgia, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday (Feb. 5), citing sources.
“The proposal would involve a multibillion-dollar investment,” according to people familiar with the matter, per WSJ. The deal would position Apple in the car business following years of working to disrupt the automotive industry.
Kia’s parent company Hyundai has been in discussions with Apple about investing more than $3 billion in a deal that would have Kia building cars under the Apple brand as early as 2024, a source told the Journal. The deal could see the building of 100,000 vehicles in Georgia, where Kia has a factory.
If Georgia is chosen to assemble Apple’s self-driving electric vehicles, it would bring new jobs to the state and boost tax revenue. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he welcomed the possibility of Apple vehicles being built at the Korean company’s assembly plant in West Point. “Kia’s commitment to excellence and its strong partnership with the state only strengthens Georgia’s status as a leader in technology, innovation and manufacturing,” Kemp said.
Apple is talking to other car manufacturers other than Hyundai-Kia. Late last year, Apple started reaching out for potential partners for vehicle manufacturing. The company said on Wednesday (Feb. 3) that it was going to invest $3.6 billion in Kia to build autonomous electric Apple cars, a deal that would see Apple getting an equity stake in Kia. The facility is expected to begin production in 2024 and would make around 100,000 cars per year, with the ability to ramp up to 400,000 per year.
Connected car partnerships are escalating as auto manufacturers start to collaborate with Big Tech to make vehicles the latest connected device. Ford and Google are partnering to introduce Team Upshift to advance vehicle innovation and data-driven opportunities.