The Apple Car is far from official, but that's not stopped rumors of its production and development from accelerating this year. The latest one being LG, more of a display partner for tech brands rather than a car maker, will help Cupertino make the Apple Car.
The Korea Times (opens in new tab) reported that LG and Canadian auto part supplier Magna are “very near” to working out a partnership. And that such a partnership could see the Apple Car arrive by 2024.
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Now don't' expect it to look like the new concept image above, but the Apple Car could very much be a reality in the near-future in some form. The report also states that the initial production volume "won't be that huge" because Apple is intending to use the first-gen Apple Car as a way "to evaluate their marketability."
LG and Magna aren’t the most obvious choices when it comes to manufacturing the Apple Car, but they did announce a joint EV manufacturing partnership last December, under the name “LG Magna e-Powertrain”.
Now, according to The Korea Times' source, "LG Magna e-Powertrain is very near to signing contracts with Apple under which they could handle the initial volume production of Apple EVs." The source goes on to say that "Contract details are still being discussed."
As far as timing goes, The Korea Times reports also claimed we’ll be seeing our first look at the Apple Car in 2024, in the form of a prototype which will be revealed early that year.
Though a deal with LG and Magna might seem surprising, the fact the two are not big players in the car industry could work out in Apple’s favor.
Apple Car and the road to reality
Reports about the Apple Car have made it quite clear that established car companies aren't too thrilled about partnering with Apple. The prospect of the Cupertino company taking control over such a big project also reportedly led to fears that Apple’s partner might become “the Foxconn of the auto industry.”
Apple was reported to be close to signing a deal with Hyundai at the start of the year, only for its subsidiary Kia to take the reins instead. But that deal fell through after the news leaked.
The rumor mill claimed that Apple wasn’t happy about the leak, and “paused” talks as a result. Nissan popped up as a possible candidate in the following weeks, only for the firm to immediately deny talks were taking place. Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta said that those sorts of partnerships do happen, but only if the partner adapts to Nissan’s services. In other words, Nissan would not be changing the way its cars are made to appease Apple.
But in this instance, if The Korea Times’ report is accurate, Apple may have found itself a winning combination. The company already has an existing professional relationship with LG, having purchased displays and other smartphone components from them in the past. And from LG's perspective, working on the Apple Car would help show it's still a major player in tech following its exit from the smartphone world earlier this month.
Magna, meanwhile, is already an established and reputable manufacturer in the auto industry, but isn’t lumbered by any commitments to an in-house car range.
Don’t take any of this as fact, though; as we saw with the Kia deal, nothing is confirmed until a deal is signed. But it certainly sounds like good news for the Apple Car, and we'll watch with interest for the next step.