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BMW and Daimler reportedly end talks with Apple over rumored car project

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Setback for Project Titan

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Apple won't officially confirm that it's working on an electric, semi-autonomous car, but if the rumors are true it could need to partner with a seasoned car company to help it navigate the tricky and expensive world of automobile manufacturing. Today the list of potential partners just got a little shorter. BMW and Daimler have discontinued negotiations with Apple over the tech giant's rumored car, codenamed "Project Titan," according to German business publication Handelsblatt.

Disagreements over power and data

"Industry sources" tells Handelsblatt that the automakers left the negotiating table over disagreements related to — what else? — control and data. "Apple wants the car to be closely built into its own cloud software, while the German carmakers have made customer data protection a key element of their future strategy," the magazine posits.

Talks with BMW collapsed last year, while discussions with Daimler (which makes Mercedes-Benz) broke down only recently, the magazine states. Apple CEO Tim Cook visited BMW's headquarters in Munich last year and senior Apple executives toured the car company's factory in Leipzig to see how it makes its i3 electric car. Soon after, talks between Apple and BMW ended.

Does Apple have a secret lab in Berlin?

Canadian-Austrian-based automotive contract manufacturer Magna is still in the running to make Apple's car. German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine — the German press is straight-up owning this beat — recently reported that Apple has created a "secret lab" in Berlin where it has poached a small team of 15–20 engineers from a number of German car companies.

Apple is also shopping for car executives in the US. The company reportedly just hired Chris Porritt, Tesla's former vice president of vehicle engineering. This comes four months after Steve Zadesky, the head of Project Titan, reportedly left the company.