BMW and Daimler abandon Apple Car talks

If Apple really is working on a car, it won’t be the Ultimate Driving Machine™. BMW and Daimler have discontinued talks with Apple over a potential automotive collaboration, Handelsblatt reports.

Things fell apart (last year for BMW, more recently with Daimler) over questions of leadership and ownership, the German newspaper’s source said — and given what we know about Apple, that seems like a perfectly likely sticking point. The idea of integrating the car closely with Apple services rather than their own may have rattled the car makers; of course, automotive brands are among the most powerfully guarded and promoted in the world.

Rumors swirled about a year ago around the idea of an Apple Car, and recent hires have been more than suggestive. But no one seems to agree on whether it’s an actual car, a collaboration with auto makers or something more subtle, like a carOS to be integrated with existing systems. One thing everyone is sure of, though: with hundreds of employees working on the project, whatever it is, it isn’t just a hobby.

So who’s left for Apple to work with? The latest rumors point to Magna, a Canadian-Austrian specialty electric vehicle maker that works with multiple badges to produce limited editions and one-offs. With top-shelf cred, less brand jealousy and probably less-demanding terms, Magna sounds like a good match for a well-heeled dilettante like Apple.