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New BMW CEO still willing to talk with tech firms like Apple, hints at manufacturing partnership

BMW's newly-installed CEO, Harald Krueger, remains as interested in his predecessor in partnerships with Apple and other tech firms, reports said on Monday.

"Fundamentally, both partners need to profit from the cooperation, otherwise it will not last. And both companies need to share the same principles, for example with regard to data security," Kreuger told Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, as quoted by Reuters.

Apple and BMW have allegedly been communicating some time, to extent that Apple CEO Tim Cook and a team of senior managers visited BMW's electric car facility in Leipzig in 2014. The BMW i3 might have become the basis for an Apple-designed car, though that particular idea appears to have been dropped. Broader talks were reportedly interrupted during the changeover to Krueger.

Rumors have suggested that BMW could be a manufacturing partner for an Apple car. While Apple is believed to have several hundred people working on a potentially self-driving electric vehicle under the codename Project Titan, it lacks any deals or facilities for actually building such a product. Krueger addressed the possibility of a manufacturing link-up with Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

"Let me answer in general terms. There is something which makes BMW Group and Apple very similar. Both are companies with strong brands," he said.

BMW has previously expressed caution about sharing information with companies like Apple, worried that it might effectively become just another supplier. At the same time, technologies like self-driving systems may demand increasing amounts of help from companies like Apple and Google, which are more familiar with software.