Nissan declines claims of being in talks with Apple over autonomous car project

Nissan has officially issued a statement addressing claims that it was in talks with Apple to manufacture autonomous cars.

The automobile manufacturer denied all claims concerning the Apple car project after the Financial Times reported early Sunday that Apple had approached Nissan to discuss a potential partnership in “recent months.”

A Nissan spokesperson told Reuters that, “we are not in talks with Apple.”  Nonetheless, the Japanese automaker is “open to exploring collaborations and partnerships to accelerate industry transformation.” No further comment was made beyond this.

Shares of Nissan were down 3.7% in early Monday afternoon trade, compared to a 1.4% rise for the Nikkei 225 benchmark.

However, the statement didn’t completely debunk the reports from the Financial Times which stated that the meeting between both companies was brief and didn’t get to senior management levels due to disagreements over branding. It was reportedly stated that the division was over Apple’s decision to have Nissan manufacture the car carrying Apple’s logo.

“We have our own customer satisfaction, which comes by car,” said Ashwani Gupta, Nissan COO. “No way ware going to change the way we make cars. The way we design, the way we develop, and the way we manufacture is going to be as an automotive manufacturer, as Nissan.”

Before the rumors about Apple and Nissan being in talks, there have been rumors about Apple being in talks with Hyundai over the autonomous car project. However, Hyundai also denied the claims that it was ever in talks with Apple. Some analysts like Ming-chi Kuo believes that the first Apple car will be built and manufactured on Hyundai’s E-GMP platform and shipped by 2025.

In December, Reuters reported that Apple was proceeding with its autonomous car project, with the aim to build a passenger vehicle that would include the company’s innovated battery technology by 2024. Apple has reportedly been in talks with some automakers to achieve its goal.

It is a common practice to outsource production of some models through original equipment manufacturing (OEM) deals in the automobile industry. However, the industry is without a major contract manufacturer like how Taiwan-based Foxconn serves the electronics industry.

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