South Korean automakers Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors have said that they are not in talks with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to develop an autonomous vehicle.
Hyundai Motor shares fell 6.21% in South Korea on Monday while Kia Motors shares plunged 15% on the news. Other affiliates, including Hyundai Wia, Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Glovis also fell sharply.
Hyundai initially said last month that it was in early-stage talks with Apple, but later revised the statement and made no mention of the iPhone maker. It led to a surge in shares of Hyundai and its affiliates, including Kia Motors, at that time.
This month, there were multiple media reports that Apple was close to finalizing a deal with Hyundai-Kia to manufacture an Apple-branded autonomous electric vehicle at the Kia assembly plant in West Point, Georgia.
Retail investors bought Hyundai Motor and Kia shares worth roughly $817 million U.S. and about $713 million U.S. respectively since the January 8 speculation over a potential collaboration with Apple began.
Speculation about Apple getting into the auto business has been rife for several years but nothing concrete has ever materialized. Some Wall Street analysts see the auto sector as a new market for Apple to grow into, but others caution against the reality of making an Apple-branded car as it could potentially mean heavy investments for low margins.