Apple, Nissan reportedly discussed deal to make electric cars

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Apple approached Nissan in recent months about working together to develop an autonomous electric car, a new report says.

But the discussions did not get far before they fell apart over a disagreement about branding, the Financial Times reported Sunday, citing unnamed people briefed on the matter.

Nissan is at least the second major automaker that Apple has reportedly considered recently as a partner for its secretive electric car project, which is known by the codename “Project Titan.”

Hyundai said last week that it was not in talks to develop an autonomous vehicle with Apple despite saying publicly a month earlier that such discussions were ongoing.

While Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida has said he’s open to partnering with technology groups, the Japanese automaker’s talks with Apple fizzled after the iPhone maker asked Nissan to produce cars bearing Apple’s brand, the Financial Times reported.

“No way we are going to change the way we make cars,” Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s chief operating officer told the paper. “The way we design, the way we develop, and the way we manufacture is going to be as an automotive manufacturer, as Nissan.”

Nissan did not immediately comment on the report. But a spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters that the company was not in discussions with Apple.

“However, Nissan is always open to exploring collaborations and partnerships to accelerate industry transformation,” the spokeswoman told the news agency.

Apple did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Monday.

Reports emerged in December that Apple was aiming to roll out a self-driving electric vehicle by 2024 after years of stops and starts. The Silicon Valley giant is expected to partner with another automaker to manufacture the car, but it remains uncertain who that partner might be.

Nissan’s Tokyo-listed stock dropped 2.8 percent Monday to 609.90 yen, or $5.79. Apple shares were not trading in the US on Monday because of the Presidents Day holiday.

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