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Hyundai and Kia deny talks with Apple on self-driving cars

Shares drop sharply as investor hopes evaporate

Shares of South Korean automaker Hyundai and its affiliate Kia were down sharply in Monday after the two said they are not talking with Apple about making autonomous vehicles. (Source phots by AP)

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor said on Monday that it is not in talks with Apple to develop self-driving cars, denying early reports that the South Korean automaker was close to completing a joint production deal with the U.S. tech company.

Hyundai, and its affiliate Kia Motors, which had been rumored to be negotiating to make Apple cars at its U.S. factory, said in regulatory filings that they are not discussing the development of autonomous vehicles with Apple. Shares of Hyundai fell as much as 6% at one point, while Kia plunged more than 13% in morning trading.

"Our company is not proceeding with talks with Apple on the development of autonomous driving vehicle," Hyundai and Kia said in separate filings. "Our company is receiving requests from multiple companies to jointly develop autonomous EV cars, but nothing has been decided yet, since it is in the early stage."

The announcement comes a few days after U.S. cable network CNBC reported that Hyundai was close to finalizing a deal with Apple to produce self-driving EVs for the company. Analysts had speculated that Kia's factory in the state of Georgia would manufacture cars for Apple, while Hyundai focused on developing new technologies, automotive and otherwise.

Hyundai representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Experts, however, say that cooperation between Big Tech companies and automakers will accelerate, even without a deal between Hyundai and Apple.

"Big Tech firms need to accelerate to join autonomous EV market through cooperation with automakers, while automakers are keen to learn self-driving technology and produce more EV cars to make economies of [scale]," said Lee Sang-hyun, an analyst at IBK Securities. "We expect integration between big techs and automakers will accelerate. There will be a lot more trials for integration."

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