Last week it was reported by a German business magazine that Apple and BMW were in talks to use the BMW electric i3 as a basis for Apple’s rumoured car project. Today, Reuters has also added some weight to the story, claiming that the dialogue ended without conclusion because Apple appears to want to explore developing a passenger car on its own, while BMW was being cautious about sharing its manufacturing know-how.
According to Reuters’s sources, Apple executives asked BMW board members detailed questions about tooling and production during their visit to BMW’s headquarters last year, and the carmaker’s executives signaled readiness to license parts. “Apple executives were impressed with the fact that we abandoned traditional approaches to car making and started afresh. It chimed with the way they do things too,” a senior BMW source said.
The carmaker says there are currently no talks with Apple about jointly developing a passenger car and Apple declined to comment. However, one of the sources said exploratory talks between senior managers may be revived at a later stage.
BMW has realized next-generation vehicles cannot be built without more input from telecoms and software experts, and Apple has been studying how to make a self-driving electric car as it seeks new market opportunities beyond phones.
If Apple ever decided to sell a car, it could make sense to find a partner like BMW, to help with industrial scale production, retail and repair.