With Hyundai apparently out of the picture, Apple may be leaning on the expertise of LG Electronics and Magna.
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The much-rumoured Apple car may be produced by LG Magna e-Powertrain.

The two companies are said to be close to finalising an agreement to build Apple's first car, according to a new report from newspaper The Korea Times.

Announced in December 2020, LG Magna e-Powertrain is the joint venture between Korean tech giant LG Electronics and the large Canadian automotive company Magna. Despite being only months old, the company is estimated to be valued at US$1 billion (AU$1.3B).

"LG Magna e-Powertrain is very near to signing contracts with Apple under which they could handle the initial volume production of Apple [electric vehicles]," a source familiar with the matter told The Korea Times earlier this week.

But added, "Contract details are still being discussed".

While most will be familiar with LG's consumer electronics products, those outside of the automotive industry may not be as familiar with the Canadian company Magna, which is a major supplier to the world's top car makers. It's understood Apple and Magna began talks around five years ago.

The company's Austrian subsidiary, Magna Steyr, currently manufactures the BMW 5 Series, BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra, Jaguar E-Pace and I-Pace, and Mercedes-Benz G-Class under contract.

Above and bottom: Recent patent drawings from LG Electronics.

In the past, LG has supplied motors, battery packs, and other components for the Chevrolet Bolt, as well as to Tesla.

Magna's experience in building vehicles on behalf of car brands, coupled with LG's current relationship with Apple, make their joint venture an ideal candidate to produce the future Apple electric vehicle (EV).

"Because LG Group affiliates … are already included in Apple's parts supply chain, Apple doesn't have to worry about any supply chain issues," the anonymous source said.

"These LG affiliates are qualified to guarantee production yields and faster delivery of parts needed for Apple EVs."

According to the report, Apple plans to unveil its prototype vehicle in early 2024, with production expected to be based in North America.

While there is no suggestion of a link to Apple, LG Electronics has been busy patenting both exterior and interior vehicle designs in recent times. The company has been keen to enter the automotive space after it closed its smartphone business.

In February 2021, Hyundai confirmed Apple had "paused talks" with the Korean car maker, despite earlier rumours the two corporations were close to signing an agreement.