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Apple reportedly approached Nissan about making an autonomous car together, but the talks collapsed after they clashed over branding

21:00, Sunday, 21 February, 2021
Apple reportedly approached Nissan about making an autonomous car together, but the talks collapsed after they clashed over branding

Apple approached Japanese carmaker Nissan about partnering on its autonomous car, but the talks fell through after the tech giant said it wanted the vehicles to be Apple-branded, The Financial Times reported.

The news comes just a week after South-Korean manufacturer Hyundai and its sister company Kia denied being in talks with Apple over the vehicle.

The discussions between Apple and Nissan in recent months didn't last long, and collapsed after Apple said it wanted Apple-branded vehicles, which would've effectively downgraded Nissan's role to just a hardware supplier, sources briefed on the matter told the publication.

Ashwani Gupta, Nissan's chief operating officer, told the FT the carmaker was not in talks with Apple.

"No way we are going to change the way we make cars," Gupta said. "The way we design, the way we develop, and the way we manufacture is going to be as an automotive manufacturer, as Nissan."

Nissan is open to working with tech companies as interest in autonomous vehicles grows, he said – but the companies would have to "adapt their services to our product, not vice versa."

A Nissan spokesperson confirmed to Insider that it isn't in talks with Apple, but noted that the company is "always open to exploring collaborations and partnerships to accelerate industry transformation."

"No way we are going to change the way we make cars," Gupta said. "The way we design, the way we develop, and the way we manufacture is going to be as an automotive manufacturer, as Nissan."

Nissan is open to working with tech companies as interest in autonomous vehicles grows, he said – but the companies would have to "adapt their services to our product, not vice versa."

A Nissan spokesperson confirmed to Insider that it isn't in talks with Apple, but noted that the company is "always open to exploring collaborations and partnerships to accelerate industry transformation."

Apple's talks with Hyundai and Kia were put on hold after news leaked of the potential partnership, Bloomberg reported on February 5. The companies had planned to sign a deal by March that would lead to a "beta" version of an Apple electric vehicle as early as 2022, local media reported, though Hyundai execs were said to be wary of the partnership.

Hyundai acknowledged the discussions with Apple, before later denying them.

Apple has made no public announcements about its self-driving car project, which is internally known as "Project Titan."

It has been in the works since 2014, Insider's Tim Levin reported, and sources told Reuters that the iPhone maker is aiming to start producing cars in 2024.
     Apple has recently patented some vehicle features, Insider's Kevin Shalvey reported, although there is no guarantee these will make it to the final product.

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