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Some Hyundai Executive Weary Of A Partnership With Apple: Reports

Some Hyundai Executive Weary Of A Partnership With Apple: Reports
There are concerns among a section of the executives of the South Korean auto major Hyundai Motor Group about a tie up with the iPhone maker Apple as over ears of becoming a contract manufacturer for the United States based tech giant which has apparently reduced the chances for a deal between the two companies,
While confirming media reports of talks for a deal between the two companies, Hyundai said earlier this month that the talks were at a preliminary stage. No details were provided by Hyundai. According to reports that had appeared in the local media, the two companies were discussing a possible deal for an electric car and battery manufacturing.
No comments on the news were available from Apple about it holding any talks with Hyundai about making electric vehicles and it was not clear form the reports about whether any talks were still underway between the two companies. One of the major characteristics of Apple is its high secrecy about its business activities and expects the same from its potential partners and suppliers about any future plans for products under development.
Hyundai did not give any updates on talks with Apple or indicate whether they remain during an earnings call in which it reported its best quarterly profit in over three years.
"We are agonizing over how to do it, whether it is good to do it or not," a Hyundai executive aware of the internal discussions on the tie-up with Apple was quoted in a news report as saying. "We are not a company which manufactures cars for others. It is not like working with Apple would always produce great results."
Very limited details have emerged about the negotiations for a deal between the two companies. However reports quoted people close to the discussions as saying that the options that had come up in eth discussions included Hyundai or Kia playing the role of a vehicle manufacturer that will be designed by Apple and will be sold in the market under the powerful and ubiquitous brand of the iPhone maker.
According to analysts, Hyundai has historically known not to be too eager to partner with outsiders on important projects as well as for making engines, transmissions and even its own steel in-house under its vertically integrated supply chain as South Korea's second-largest conglomerate.
The news of the talks resulted in a surge in the shares of Kia and Hyundai. However reports also claimed that there was substantial opposition to the possibility of Hyundai turning into a contract manufacturer of Apple and this opposition could be a deterrent to a deal  with the American tech giant.
Reports also stated that the two companies had first initiated talks back in 2018 when Alexander Hitzinger, who is now a Volkswagen executive, headed the efforts of Apple known as "Project Titan".
But the reluctance on the part of the South Korean automaker of working with outside companies had derailed the talks back then, reports claimed. Those talks had not been reported in the media previously.
"It is really difficult (for Hyundai) to open up," a source said according to a report. The source added that the South Korean company would likely to have to replace some executives in order to to avoid a culture clash if there is any partnership struck with Apple.
"Apple is the boss. They do their marketing, they do their products, they do their brand. Hyundai is also the boss. That does not really work," the person was quoted as saying.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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