Automakers aren’t interested in building it. So now what?

It wasn’t so long ago when Hyundai nearly signed a deal with tech giant Apple to manufacture the latter’s long-awaited electric car. Terms of the agreement supposedly had Kia charged with handling the project but, as we all know, the negotiations fell apart. Apple quickly tried its luck with Nissan but to no avail. The chances another automaker would be interested are dwindling by the day. Why is this?

Because no one wants to build a competitor’s product, especially one whose ultimate goal is to challenge the assumptions of nearly every modern vehicle aspect, from the seat materials to the exterior design. For an automaker to become little more than a contract assembler for a rival makes no business sense.

As per Bloomberg, this leaves Apple with really one option to proceed if it ever wants its Tesla Model S (or Model 3?) rival to see the light of day: find a contract manufacturer such as Magna or Foxconn. The latter in particular could be a good choice since it already makes Apple-designed hardware. It’s accustomed to Apple engineers instructing it what to do. But don’t rule out Magna, the Canadian auto parts supplier, who has already agreed to build the Fisker Ocean.

The report claims the two companies were in talks five years ago about building the Apple car, but nothing was finalized. Aside from Fisker, Magna has plenty of experience building cars for automakers, including Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, and Daimler.

Some industry watchers are actually quite surprised Apple even bothered holding talks with Hyundai and Nissan in the first place when the Magna option already exists. Magna has earned an excellent reputation over the years and could surely accommodate Apple’s requests. And since Magna is not an auto manufacturer, there’s no risk of competition.

At present, Apple continues to explore its options but the reality is that no major automaker wants to help. BMW’s CFO recently stated he “sleeps peacefully at night” despite knowing Apple wants to enter the car market. Volkswagen also doesn’t view Apple as a serious threat. It’s now up to Apple to prove them wrong.

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