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Hyundai, Kia deny Apple car talks, send shares tumbling

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(COMBO) This combination of file pictures created on February 4, 2021 shows the Apple logo at a company store in Bangkok on November 10, 2020; and the Hyundai car logo at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles on November 21, 2019. – Apple is close to a deal on producing its own autonomous vehicles in cooperation with South Korean giant Hyundai with an announcement likely as soon as this month, media reports said. A report by CNBC television, citing unnamed sources, said Apple was working with Hyundai and its Kia brand to produce the car in the southern state of Georgia. (Photos by Mladen ANTONOV and Mark RALSTON / AFP)

South Korean automaker Hyundai and its affiliate Kia on Monday denied news reports they were in talks with Apple for a joint project to make autonomous vehicles, sending their shares tumbling.

The announcement came about a month after the country’s cable broadcaster Korea Economic TV said the iPhone maker had approached Hyundai to discuss a potential partnership to develop electric vehicles and batteries for them, sending the car maker’s shares soaring.

Reports last week suggested they could produce cars in the US state of Georgia.

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But on Monday Hyundai and Kia said in regulatory filings they were “not discussing autonomous electric car development with Apple”.

Both automakers added that they had talked with multiple firms about such projects, but no decision had been made.

Hyundai said those talks were in their “early stages”.

Kia shares slumped 14.98 percent at the close in Seoul on Monday, while Hyundai fell 6.21 percent.

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Consumer interest in eco-friendly vehicles has mounted in recent years with Tesla largely taking the lead in the sector.

Apple’s Project Titan is devoted to self-driving technology but the firm is known for being ultra-secretive about its business.

Hyundai, South Korea’s biggest automaker, has already rolled out fully electric cars, including the Ioniq and the Kona Electric, as it seeks to win a slice of the growing market.

But Apple has never acknowledged talks with Hyundai, despite several news reports claiming they were close to a deal.

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