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Not In Talks With Apple For Autonomous Car Project, Says Japan’s Auto Maker Nissan

Not In Talks With Apple For Autonomous Car Project, Says Japan’s Auto Maker Nissan
After there were reports recently claiming that the United States based iPhone maker Apple Inc had approached the Japanese auto company Nissan Motor Co Ltd to negotiate on a deal for a partnership on its autonomous car project, the Japanese auto maker said on Monday that it is not in any form of talks with the iPhone maker.
According to a report published recently in The Financial Times, there were some discussions for a brief period between the companies about a partnership which later broke down because Nissan was unwilling to simply become an assembler for the Apple branded cars. The report also stated that the talks between the two companies had not advanced to the level of senior management.
“We are not in talks with Apple,” a Nissan spokeswoman said. “However, Nissan is always open to exploring collaborations and partnerships to accelerate industry transformation.”
No further explanation was provided by the spokeswoman. There were also no comments on the issue available from Apple.
Shares in Nissan were sharply lower in early Monday afternoon trade, down 3.7% compared to a 1.4% rise for the Nikkei 225 benchmark.
In recent week, early stage discussions between Apple and the South Korean auto giant Hyundai on a possible partnership for development of autonomous electric cars had also broken down over concerns with in the South Korean automaker about the company ultimately becoming a contract manufacturer of Apple’s cars if there was a partnership for the same between the two.
Back in December last year, there were reports of Apple planning to give a strong push to its autonomous car technology development efforts and the company aimed to design, develop and bring to market a  passenger vehicle as early as 2024 which would have the iPhone maker’s own breakthrough battery technology.
Within the global auto industry, it is common practice to outsource some part of the vehicle manufacturing process of some models via what is known as original equipment manufacturing (OEM) deals. However there is no presence of any form of a major contract manufacturer for making vehicles like in the case of the Taiwanese company Foxconn which is a one of the largest contract manufacturer in the electronics industry and makes or assembles products for a number of electronics and tech companies including that for iPhones of Apple. 
A number of agreements have however been announced this year by the Chinese company Geely which includes a partnership with Foxconn and another contract with the Chinese internet giant Baidu Inc. These deals or partnerships are a part of the strategy of the company to be identified as the go-to contract manufacturer for electric cars in the Chinese market.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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