SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Group said on Monday it is not now in talks with Apple on autonomous electric cars, just a month after it confirmed early-stage talks with the tech giant, sending the automaker's shares falling.
Hyundai's stock fell 6 percent, wiping $3 billion off its market value. Shares in its affiliate Kia, which had been tipped in local media reports as the likely operational partner for Apple, tumbled 15 percent -- a $5.5 billion hit.
The announcement ends weeks of internal divisions at Hyundai Motor, parent to both automakers, about the potential tie-up, with some executives raising concerns about becoming a contract manufacturer for the U.S. tech giant in a partnership reminiscent of electronics firm Foxconn's role in making device for Apple such as the iPhone.
"We are receiving requests for cooperation in joint development of autonomous electric vehicles from various companies, but they are at early stage and nothing has been decided," the automakers said on Monday, in compliance with stock market rules requiring regular updates to investors regarding market rumors.
"We are not having talks with Apple on developing autonomous vehicles."
Kia shares had jumped 61 percent since Hyundai initially confirmed a local media report early in January that Apple and Hyundai were in discussions to develop self-driving electric vehicles by 2027 and develop batteries at U.S. factories operated by either Hyundai or Kia.
"Apple and Hyundai are in discussion, but as it is at early stage, nothing has been decided," Hyundai said, before releasing subsequent statements that removed all mentions of Apple but said Hyundai was receiving electric car cooperation requests from parties it did not identify.
As recently as last week, media outlets including CNBC reported that a deal was close to being finalized. One South Korean report said the two companies were set to sign the deal on Feb. 17.