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Apple Car based on BMW i3? ‘Nice idea’: CEO

A driverless Apple car modeled on BMW's electric i3 vehicle "may be a nice idea", the automaker's boss told CNBC, after reports earlier this year suggested the U.S. tech giant was looking to make an electric car based on the German firm's design.

German publication Manager Magazin reported in July that Apple was interested in the body design of the i3 as a basis for its own electric car.

But Harald Krüger, the chief executive of BMW, told CNBC that while this "may be a nice idea", he had "no answer" to whether this was going to happen.

"There are always rumours in our business but as you know we are working together with a lot of IT companies like Google, like Apple, to integrate the smartphones into the cars," Krüger told CNBC in an interview at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

"But there is nothing more to add at this moment of time because we definitely look into the future development of the BMW group and digitalization of our business is…I would call it the top trend of our business."

Speculation has been building all year that Apple is looking to develop its own electric car and jump into the auto sector. In July, Apple hired industry veteran Doug Betts, who led global quality at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. And last month, "Project Titan" – the name for Apple's car project – got more credibility after The Guardian revealed the Cupertino-based giant was looking for an area to test the car in Silicon Valley.

America's biggest technology companies are all looking to jump into the driverless car space. Google is currently testing its own vehicle while taxi app Uber poached researchers from Carnegie Mellon University to work on autonomous driving technology.

At the same time, traditional carmakers are also looking toward driverless cars. Earlier this year, a conglomerate of German carmakers bought Nokia's HERE mapping system which is seen as a key component for autonomous driving.

Meanwhile, Krüger had an eventful time at the Frankfurt motor show. The CEO fainted on stage during the company's press conference in his first major appearance as the German automaker's boss. Krüger cancelled his appointments at the motor show and went home to recover.