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BMW and Daimler end talks with Apple over “iCar” project

Both Daimler and BMW have reportedly ended talks with Apple over a cooperation deal that could have resulted in the German auto-makers working together to build the company's long-awaited electric car, or the “iCar”.

Last year, talks with BMW came to an end and only just recently did discussions with Daimler end as well. Apple's CEO Tim Cook even went as far as to visit BMW's headquarters in Munich last year and see first hand how the company manufacturers its i3 electric car. However, soon afterwards discussions between the two companies broke down.

Those close to the matter have said that it was the question of who would lead the project and who would be in control of the data that led the two German auto-makers to end their talks with Apple. The company wanted the car to be produced in such a way that it was directly tied to iCloud. Daimler and BMW though had decided that customer data protection would be one of the key elements of the future strategies of both companies.

While Daimler and BMW are both out of the running to produce Apple's electric car, the Canadian-Austrian firm Magna is still being considered as a potential manufacturer for the vehicle.

At Apple, the project is referred to as Project Titan and the company has built a secret lab in Berlin where it is working on an electric vehicle that may have some self-driving capabilities. Currently a small team of 15 to 20 engineers who were formerly employed by a number of German car companies are working on developing a vehicle to rival Tesla's recently announced Model 3.

Apple has also been on the lookout for talent from US auto-makers and it has just hired Tesla's former vice president of vehicle engineering, Chris Porrit.

When it comes to Apple's electric car it no longer a question of if the company is building one but rather a question of when it will be announced and if it will really go by the name of “iCar.”

Image Credit: withGod / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.