What the auto industry thinks about the rumored Apple Car

Auto industry executives have begun chiming in on Apple's rumored electric car.

2014 mercedes benz s63 amg 3qtr
Image: Mercedes-Benz

Over the past few days, a number of auto executives have chimed on reports that Apple is not-so-secretly developing an electric car.

Seeing as how there is no shortage of detractors who think Apple has no business entering the auto industry, perhaps it's appropriate to begin with some of the more positive takes on Apple's rumored jump into an entirely different industry.

First up, we have Volkswagon CEO Martin Winterkorn, who reportedly is fully on board with both Google and Apple dipping their toes into automotive waters.

Winterkorn added that Volkswagon would be more than happy to work alongside either Apple or Google in the electric car space.

Winterkorn's optimistic outlook was mirrored by Toyota's Didier Leroy, who told the Chicago Tribune:

The key element is to make sure that when we're working with them, and we're totally open to work with any of them. It's a real win-win. The carmakers don't want just to become a kind of commodity, where somebody will only deliver an empty box and somebody will put in the box something which will be the real added value.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn also viewed Apple's rumored entrance into the auto industry as a positive one for all car makers. While speaking at Mobile World Congress earlier this week, Ghosn explained:

If Apple does it, obviously it’s good news for us. The fact that a company outside of the auto industry wants to do electric cars is refreshing

On the other side of the coin, executives from both GM and Mercedes have already warned that either a) Apple doesn't know what it's doing or b) there's no reason to fear Apple shaking up the auto industry in the same way they upended the digital music and smartphone markets.

Specifically, Dieter Zetsche of Mercedes-Benz intimated that he's not worried in the slightest.

"If there were a rumor that Mercedes or Daimler planned to start building smartphones then they (Apple) would not be sleepless at night," Zetsche explained a few days ago. "And the same applies to me."

Taking more of a middle of the road and insightful approach, Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, told the Tribune not to "underestimate" a new entrant into the auto industry from the tech world. 

The closer we get to autonomous driving, the weaker the connection becomes between the customer and the car. And Google and Apple aren't burdened with old technology but can start fresh.

via Chicago Tribune

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