Multiple sources say that Apple plans to build an autonomous electric car with an undetermined partner starting in 2024. But in Wolfsburg, home of Volkswagen, people are calm about the prospect.

As Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess explains in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, the company is not concerned - or does not want us to think it is. "The car industry is not a typical tech-sector that you could take over at a single stroke," Diess argued. Apple could not achieve this overnight, he added.

Diess conceded that it would be "logical" for Apple to expand its business in this direction, since the Cupertino firm has expertise in battery technology, software and design, and enough money to make major investments. But he does not believe this poses a threat to Volkswagen or other traditional car manufacturers.

The blogosphere is ablaze with speculation about Apple's choice of car manufacturer partner. VW is not among the touted candidates for this project, although the firms reportedly worked together on something related: back in May 2018 the New York Times wrote that Apple had "signed a deal with Volkswagen to turn some of the carmaker's new T6 Transporter vans into self-driving shuttles for Apple employees". 

Hyundai-Kia was the hot favourite for some time, but negotiations have reportedly been suspended; Nissan then had its time in the limelight after a moderately positive comment by its boss, but Reuters now says the Japanese car maker has waved away Apple's advances. "We are not in talks with Apple," a spokesman said, contradicting a report in the Financial Times that Apple had approached Nissan about a partnership.

Catch all the latest rumours in our Apple Car news hub.

This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by David Price.