The small town of West Point, Georgia, got its hopes up for a minute as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), acting like a desirable bachelorette in a room full of single men, came to town. Turns out the tech giant was just getting a read on its options.
Although teaming with West Point’s Kia (KRX: 000270) plant to make an Apple car just wasn’t meant to be — at least for the time being — anything is possible in the future.
Georgia got its hopes up
The word got out that Apple was considering building self-driving electric cars at Georgia’s West Point Kia assembly plant, located about 90 minutes southwest of Atlanta. If that happens, there will be new jobs and tax revenue for residents to count on, not to mention this would put another feather in the cap of Georgia for being a tech hub. (Atlanta was named the No. 1 Tech Hub for 2020 by Business Facilities Magazine.)
Georgia is poised to handle this type of deal
Although there’s no deal yet, Georgia is a good choice if Apple decides to choose the West Point facility to manufacture its car. Georgia’s Savannah port is one of the East Coast’s largest ports, and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest airport in the world.
Georgia understands its advantages and has been aggressive in wooing major companies to expand economic development. Tax incentives offered by the state are a huge draw for many companies to set up shop here.
The ‘Apple Car’
CNBC reported the Apple/Kia deal would consist of a $3.6 billion Apple investment, with operations to start in 2024. The “Apple Car” would be, as the name suggests, a car with an Apple design and Apple software; it would not be a Kia with Apple parts.
Plans are for the car to have no designated driver space and will probably first be used for deliveries, like food, to people’s homes.
Apple is secretive
Apple is known for its secrecy. Somehow, news leaked that Apple was finalizing a deal with Hyundai-Kia at the West Point Kia plant to manufacture an electric self-driving car. This leak was premature. Apple is not ready to announce anything. The tech giant might not partner with Hyundai-Kia at all, let alone choose Georgia.
Although news reports were on the “fake news” side for this one, this Apple deal isn’t exactly much ado about nothing. The West Point Kia plant was under consideration — and still might be.
Like a couple’s date gone wrong, Apple and Hyundai-Kia are not talking right now. The Apple deal with the Georgia Kia plant might not happen, but Apple could revisit this option. Apple is currently in talks with car manufacturers all over the world, and the Georgia deal could just be on a temporary hold. Georgia investors: Watch this one.