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Apple Shares Gain on Fresh 'Apple Car' Report

Apple is investing about $3.6 billion in a car partnership with Kia Motors, according to a report out of South Korea.
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Apple Inc. shares rose in after-hours trading Wednesday following a report that appeared to confirm the company will partner with South Korean automaker Hyundai-Kia to build a so-called Apple Car at a plant in Georgia.

After the close, CNBC reported Apple is close to reaching an agreement with Hyundai-Kia to build autonomous electric vehicles beginning in 2024, citing “multiple sources.” The report appeared to confirm overnight reports out of South Korea that a deal is in the works.

Apple ended the regular session off $1.05 at $133.94. In late trading, Apple shares rose $3.01, or 2.25%, to $136.95.

Earlier Wednesday, Kia Motors got a boost from a local report out of South Korea saying the car maker is partnering with Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report to produce a new generation of electric vehicles.

Apple is investing 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion) in Kia as part of the collaboration, according to the report, which sent shares of Kia up 9.7% in Korea.

Apple will set up production with Kia and build Apple cars at the company's facility in Georgia, Korean newspaper DongA Ilbo reported, though the report did not cite sources for the information, Bloomberg reported. 

The newspaper also said that the two companies could sign a deal on Feb. 17 and are planning to introduce Apple cars in 2024, with an initial target to produce 100,000 vehicles a year.

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Last month, South Korean automaker Hyundai, an affiliate of Kia's, announced it was in preliminary talks with Apple on developing a self-driving car, before quickly backing away from the statement and saying it has received requests from a number of technology suitors to develop autonomous electric vehicles.

The initial statement sent shares of Hyundai soaring 19%.

Also in January, analysts at Evercore raised their price target on Apple in a note suggesting that a potential "Apple Car" could have the same disruptive impact as the company's iPhone. 

Evercore analyst Amit Daryanani, who kept an outperform rating on the shares, said in a note to investors that his near-term "bullish bias" is driven by expectations for an iPhone supercycle, the monetization of its installed base and gross margin expansion, according to the Fly.

The analyst also said that recent discussions around an Apple Car "have become louder" and sees increased odds that Apple will have a product in the automotive space in the next five years.

Late in January Apple announced that its leading hardware engineer, Dan Riccio, was moving to a new undisclosed project.  Riccio has been with Apple since 1998 and has worked on most of the company’s major products over that time, from the first iMac computers to the latest 5G phones.  “I’m looking forward to doing what I love most — focusing all my time and energy at Apple on creating something new and wonderful that I couldn’t be more excited about,” Riccio said in the statement. 

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