Former GM CEO warns Apple not to get into the car business

Former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson warned Apple that it should stay out of the car industry for its own good.

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Credit: Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

With all of the varying news reports claiming that Apple has plans to develop its own car, there has been a lot of debate regarding the wisdom behind such a strategy. While some Apple enthusiasts might understandably welcome an Apple-inspired car, there is certainly no shortage of arguments to make against Apple entering an entirely new industry.

Falling in the latter category, former GM CEO Dan Akerson recently sat down for an interview with Bloomberg where he advised Apple that it has no idea what it's getting itself into.

The car industry, with regulatory and safety requirements, is harder than people realize, Akerson said.

"A lot of people who don't ever operate in it don't understand and have a tendency to underestimate," he said.


"They'd better think carefully if they want to get into the hard-core manufacturing," he said of Apple. "We take steel, raw steel, and turn it into car. They have no idea what they're getting into if they get into that."

Bold words, but not entirely misplaced. And while one might be inclined to draw a parallel between Akerson's statements and the warning former Palm CEO Ed Holligan issued to Apple in the wake of the iPhone introduction, they are not at all similar.

Holligan, if you recall, warned Apple: "We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in."

And, of course, that's exactly what Apple did. Cars, though, represent an altogether new challenge, and one that Apple, seemingly, seems ill-equipped to take on in a serious fashion.

Of course, only Apple executives and employees themselves know what the company is up to, but if Apple does in fact, in a few years time, release a car, it would quite literally be the boldest bet the company has ever made.

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