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Apple in Talks With Hyundai About Car Ambitions, Auto Maker Says

SEOUL— Apple Inc. has held talks with Hyundai Motor Co. about cooperation on driverless, electric vehicles, the South Korean car giant said.

The brief statement, which sent Hyundai’s shares soaring early Friday in Seoul, included no details and said talks were preliminary but offered rare public confirmation of Apple’s car-related efforts. The iPhone maker has been working secretly on the car project in fits and starts for more than six years, while watching the success of Silicon Valley’s Tesla Inc. ignite interest in electric vehicles.

In recent weeks, Apple has reached out to suppliers about the possibility of doing its own car, potentially starting production as soon 2024, a person familiar with the matter said last month. Apple shelved an earlier effort to develop its own car a few years ago to focus on driverless car technology.

Apple declined to comment.

Hyundai, in saying Friday that it has held discussions with Apple, said that “as it is at [an] early stage, nothing has been decided.” In a later statement filed with Korean securities regulators, Hyundai said it had fielded requests of potential cooperation on electric vehicles from multiple companies. Hyundai, with affiliate Kia Motors Corp. , ranks among the world’s largest auto makers by sales.

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