The tech giant plans to "build Apple cars" after setting up production at Kia's facility in Georgia, according to a Korean media report picked up by Bloomberg. The deal, set to be signed February 17, includes a initial target of 100,000 vehicles per year, with the first set to hit the market in 2024.
Though the original report was uncited, its publication caused the automaker's shares to jump 14.5 percent to the highest valuation since 1997. Both Apple and Kia reps declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg.
The news comes after Kia affiliate Hyundai Motor Company walked back a statement saying that it was in talks with Apple, revising it to say it had merely been contacted by potential partners for autonomous EV development. That statement pushed Hyundai stock up almost 20 percent in a day.
Like virtually all major car companies, Kia has toyed with the idea of a battery EV for years—pictured is the fully-electric, all-wheel drive Kia "HabaNiro" crossover concept unveiled in 2019.