The story of much rumored Apple car is taking another turn this week with German publication Handelsblatt claiming both BMW and Mercedes have broken off talks with Apple recently.

Via the Verge:

“Industry sources” tells Handelsblatt that the automakers left the negotiating table over disagreements related to — what else? — control and data. “Apple wants the car to be closely built into its own cloud software, while the German carmakers have made customer data protection a key element of their future strategy,” the magazine posits.

Talks with BMW collapsed last year, while discussions with Daimler (which makes Mercedes-Benz) broke down only recently, the magazine states. Apple CEO Tim Cook visited BMW’s headquarters in Munich last year and senior Apple executives toured the car company’s factory in Leipzig to see how it makes its i3 electric car. Soon after, talks between Apple and BMW ended.

The other rumor is that Apple will rely on a contract production company such as Austrian based Magna that has been producing the MINI Countryman (among other BMW Group vehicles) for years.

Is there cache for BMW in helping Apple create a car? Are there strategic alliances on the table perhaps? What if that car ultimately competes directly with BMW?

As long time fans of Apple (there’s a Newton in a drawer somewhere around here) I’m fascinated by the idea personally. But I’m not entirely sure how it would make sense for BMW unless there was a real brand tie-up. And that seems complete fantasy as this point.