TOKYO -- Nissan said it is not in talks with Apple, following a report that the iPhone maker approached the Japanese company in recent months about a tie-up for its autonomous car project.
Apple approached Nissan about a tie-up but the talks ended after disagreement over the branding of the iPhone maker's effort, the Financial Times reported, citing people briefed on the matter.
The discussions faltered over Nissan's reluctance to become an assembler for Apple-branded cars the paper said, adding that the talks had not advanced to senior management level.
"We are not in talks with Apple," a Nissan spokeswoman said on Monday. "However, Nissan is always open to exploring collaborations and partnerships to accelerate industry transformation."
The spokeswoman declined to comment further. Representatives for Apple were not immediately available for comment.
Early stage talks between Apple and Hyundai over autonomous electric cars recently collapsed on concerns within the South Korean automaker about becoming a mere contract manufacturer.
Reuters reported in December that Apple was moving forward with autonomous car technology and aimed to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology as early as 2024.
Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung on Sunday that Apple's plan to enter the auto industry is "a very logical step."
Outsourcing production of some models through original equipment manufacturing (OEM) deals is common in the auto industry, but the industry does not have a major contract manufacturer in the way that Foxconn serves the consumer electronics industry.
This year, however, China's Geely has announced a flurry of tie-ups including one with Foxconn and another with Chinese internet giant Baidu as it seeks to position itself as the go-to contract manufacturer for electric cars in China.