Another negotiation with automakers ended up being unsuccessful for Apple. This time, the Cupertino company was discussing the Apple Car project with Nissan Motor, which did not want to produce self-driving vehicles under the Apple brand.
In a statement, Nissan denies being in talks with Apple regarding the Apple car, but the discussions reportedly took place in recent months.
Apple plans to partner with the third-party car maker to manufacture its long-awaited self-driving car because while the tech giant can design its own software and hardware, it cannot build the actual hardware at a mass scale. January reports suggested that Apple was considering Hyundai to be the official partner, but Apple is generally pursuing all possible options.
Apple previously suspended talks with Kia and Hyundai on the production of a future electric vehicle. Neither Hyundai nor Kia are now considered as potential Apple Car partners because of data leaks, thanks to which negotiations became public. Apparently, Apple was upset that the talks were widely publicized because the tech giant usually prefers to keep its projects and relationships with suppliers in secret.
Apple was pushing for the production of the car under its own brand, but the discussion with Nissan was brief and did not even reach the top management of the companies. The Japanese automaker felt that this would downgrade the company to an equipment supplier and simply did not want to become the "Foxconn of the automotive industry."
The breaking point was that Apple asked the Japanese automaker to manufacture the future electric vehicle with Apple’s branding.
Nissan said the company designs, develops, and manufactures cars and is not going to change its approach in any way. However, the automaker remains open to partnerships with other tech companies:
“We have to check who has got the best competency to catch what the customer is thinking. For this, we can do the partnership, but that is to adapt their services to our product, not vice versa,” said Ashwani Gupta, the company's chief operating officer.
Analysts believe the Japanese automaker would be a suitable partner for Apple, as the company pioneered electric cars with the all-new 100% electric, zero-emission Nissan LEAF released in 2010.
Despite multiple reports about the upcoming Apple Car, it might not hit the market up until at least 2026, analysts say.