Apple [NSDQ:AAPL] may turn to a partnership between electronics giant LG and automotive supplier Magna International for help in developing a car, The Korea Times reported on Tuesday.
Citing a person familiar with the matter, the Korean newspaper reported that Apple is “very near” to signing an agreement with a joint venture between LG and Manga for the supply of electric powertrains for the car.
Known as LG Magna e-Powertrain, the $1 billion joint venture combines LG's expertise in components for electric vehicles (the company has already supplied components for EVs from Chevrolet and Jaguar) with Magna's expertise in powertrain development and vehicle manufacturing. It was only established last December so Apple may be among its first customers.
Apple at present is reportedly seeking powertrains for vehicles to be used for market evaluation purposes only, however. As a result, the monetary volume of the partnership won't be significant, a separate source told The Korea Times.
Apple is still quiet on whether or not it actually plans to launch a car. However there have been reports the company has talked with established automakers about signing them as contract manufacturers for a car. The company has also been filing multiple patents in recent years related to cars and driving.
LG Magna e-Powertrain
In January, Hyundai Motor Group confirmed it was in talks with Apple about building a car for the company, but those talks came to an end the following month without an agreement being reached.
Apple of course could still reach an agreement with another automaker. Even Foxconn, which manufactures the iPhone for Apple, could be an option. It teamed up in January with Geely to form a joint venture that will contract manufacture cars. Foxconn also last fall unveiled its own modular EV platform.
Magna, too, could be an option as it has a contract manufacturing company in Austria. Called Magna Steyr, the company has built multiple cars for various automakers and has also developed a modular EV platform which already has already been picked by Fisker for its upcoming Ocean crossover. Magna will also build the Fisker Ocean.
In March, Magna CEO Swamy Kotagiri said he was open to establishing a new contract manufacturing business in North America to build cars, including potentially a car from Apple.
Apple is thought to be readying its car for a reveal in 2024. It may not be something sold directly to the public, however. In February, a report claimed the car will be a self-driving vehicle designed for “last mile” trips, suggesting it will be some sort of autonomous shuttle or delivery van.