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South Korea carmaker Kia's shares surge on rumors of Apple tie-up

An unofficial artist's impression of Apple's electric concept car. (Courtesy of Aristomenis Tribas/ Chosun Ilbo photo)

(The Chosun Ilbo) -- Kia shares are surging on rumors that parent Hyundai and Apple are in talks to co-develop electric cars and Kia will handle the project.

    A media report on Jan. 20 claimed Kia will oversee the production of Apple's first electric car, and another report on Wednesday said the U.S. giant wants to invest W4 trillion in Kia's plant in America to roll it out (US$1=W1,115).

    Kia's stock price surged 9.65 percent on Wednesday, but Hyundai said "nothing has been decided."

    One reason Kia takes the prize is that Hyundai is busy building up its premium Genesis brand and will not be able to manufacture EVs for Apple. Another is that Kia puts higher priority on EVs in future strategy than Hyundai does.

    Kia came up with a plan in 2019 to phase out combustion engines and roll out 500,000 EVs a year starting in 2025. It also plans to boost the proportion of EVs in its total lineup from the present seven percent to 40 percent by 2030.

    Hyundai chairman Chung Eui-sun is a strong proponent of Kia's EV goal.

    But industry insiders do not rule out that the Apple tie-up could fall through because they doubt that Hyundai's complete production system, from steel panels to final assembly, would be compatible with Apple.

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