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BMW research head avoids Apple Car question, says obstacles present to deeper partnership

BMW's research and development head said on Wednesday that there are obstacles to collaborating with Apple beyond integrating iPhone support into vehicles, but did not completely rule out the possibility of the two companies building a car together.

BMW's Klaus Froehlich said in an interview with Reuters that BMW will not contemplate any deal that would force it to share core knowledge. But when he was asked whether his company might develop a car with Apple, the executive dodged the question.

"I will remain hypothetical on the topic," he said. "When it comes to the topic of technology, BMW tends to focus on its own strengths."

Froehlich did say that Apple and BMW have traits in common, such as a focus on "premium" branding, constant evolution, and trying to make products aesthetically attractive.

The German automaker is an official partner for CarPlay, Apple's iOS-based dashboard interface, and is also preparing to support the Apple Watch. Recently, rumors have claimed that the two companies might be developing a car together, but if so BMW has denied that recent talks were related to the effort.

A growing number of reports have indicated that Apple is developing en electric car, possibly with the goal of a 2020 launch date. AppleInsider recently uncovered what could be the development site for the project, located just minutes away from Apple's Cupertino headquarters. That facility has an assortment of auto-related renovations, and is believed to be operated by Apple under the guise of a shell company called SixtyEight Research.