After a post-holiday progress review supposedly conducted by Apple design chief Jony Ive, the iPhone-maker placed a hiring freeze on the team called 'Project Titan.' Ive is said to have "expressed his displeasure" with the direction of the group that is thought to have more than 1,000 people working for it.
Though the news came several days after a report that Steve Zadesky, a longtime Apple engineer in charge of Project Titan, would leave the company, it is not immediately clear whether his departure is related to the staffing restrictions. Zadesky's departure was said to be for "personal reasons."
Apple's ability to acquire engineering talent from Tesla was supposed to have a "big impact" on Elon Musk's company's ability to keep up with the development of new vehicles.
In recent months, however, Apple's car initiative has seen multiple roadblocks as it strives to meet its schedule that would have final engineering finished by 2019.
CNBC has reached out to Apple for comments.
A previous report by AppleInsider found that the tech giant was experiencing manufacturing issues, forcing Apple to consider partnering with a more established automaker such as BMW.
Although the German carmaker was seemingly reluctant to enter into such an agreement, Apple was thought to have spoken with them about using BMW's electric i3 model as a development platform. Apple is said to be especially interested in BMW due to the automaker's ability to go beyond traditional approaches to vehicles, according to the report.
Read the full report here.