Nissan has issued a statement denying that it’s in discussions to work with Apple on the US company’s long-rumored autonomous car project. Earlier today the Financial Times reported that Apple had approached the Japanese automaker about a potential partnership “in recent months.”
“We are not in talks with Apple,” a Nissan spokesperson tells Reuters. “However, Nissan is always open to exploring collaborations and partnerships to accelerate industry transformation.”
That statement doesn’t address whether the talks ever took place, which means it doesn’t directly contradict the Financial Times’ story. That report said that “the contact was brief and the discussions did not advance to senior management levels following divisions over branding for the iPhone maker’s electric vehicles.” The breaking point was said to be Apple’s request that Nissan manufacture cars carrying Apple’s branding.
“We have our own customer satisfaction, which comes by car. No way we are going to change the way we make cars,” Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta tells the Financial Times, again stating that talks aren’t happening now without confirming if they ever did. “The way we design, the way we develop, and the way we manufacture is going to be as an automotive manufacturer, as Nissan.”
The recent speculation over Nissan comes after Hyundai said it wasn’t in talks with Apple on the project. Hyundai has been the primary subject of rumors over the partnership of late, not least because the Korean carmaker itself issued and swiftly retracted a statement saying it had entered discussions with Apple. Analyst Ming-chi Kuo believes the first Apple car will be built on Hyundai’s E-GMP platform and ship in 2025 at the earliest.