Nissan says 'not in talks with Apple' over autonomous car project


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Apple Inc logo is seen hanging at the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in New York

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co Ltd said on Monday it is not in talks with Apple Inc (NASDAQ:), following a report that the iPhone maker approached the Japanese company in recent months about a tie-up for its autonomous car project.

The Financial Times said the companies had brief discussions that faltered over Nissan’s reluctance to become an assembler for Apple-branded cars, adding that the talks had not advanced to senior management level.

“We are not in talks with Apple,” a Nissan spokeswoman said. “However, Nissan is always open to exploring collaborations and partnerships to accelerate industry transformation.”

The spokeswoman declined to comment further.

Representatives for Apple were not immediately available for comment.

Concerns about becoming a mere contract manufacturer for Apple were also a factor in this month’s collapse in early stage talks about autonomous electric cars between South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co and the U.S. tech giant.

Reuters reported in December that Apple was moving forward with autonomous car technology and aimed to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology as early as 2024.

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