Could it really be happening?
Apple came so close a couple of months ago to getting its long-awaited electric vehicle to production, codenamed Project Titan. It wasn't meant to be because Hyundai, who would have handled primary manufacturing, opted to walk away. It wants to build its own vehicles, not someone else's. That left Apple in a bit of a pickle. Abandon the project or find another manufacturer? It appears it's chosen the latter.
According to a report from the Korea Times, the global tech giant is close to signing a deal with South Korea's LG and Magna International, the Canadian manufacturer who's a subsidiary of Magna Steyr.
The latter currently builds the BMW Z4, its Toyota Supra twin, and the Jaguar I-Pace at its facility in Graz, Austria. LG, of course, is one of the world's largest battery producers. None of the three companies commented on the report as "contract details" are supposedly still being finalized. If a deal can be made (we must stress 'if'), don't expect production to begin until 2024 at the earliest. A prototype will appear sometime prior.
The Magna possibility has been mentioned before and it's somewhat surprising Apple didn't initiate talks with the supplier earlier on instead of wasting time with Hyundai and even Nissan. Suppliers like Magna provide build-for-hire services, much like Foxconn making iPhones and other hardware for Apple.
It wouldn't make much sense for an automaker, especially one that's aggressive as Hyundai Motor Group, to produce a potential rival's vehicle. Apple wouldn't have to share any technology with Hyundai. In an interview earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company is all about integrating "hardware, software, and services, and find the intersection points of those because we think that's where the magic occurs."
Could this have been a cryptic message indicating Project Titan is moving forward? Impossible to know for sure but we really should take this latest report with a grain of salt. We've been down this road before only to reach a dead end.