It’s been widely reported Apple may be developing an electric car that could compelte against all comers including Tesla, and ultimately be autonomous, but the former chairman of General Motors say he would counsel against it.
“I think somebody is kind of trying to cough up a hairball here,” Akerson said to Automotive News. “If I were an Apple shareholder, I wouldn’t be very happy. I would be highly suspect of the long-term prospect of getting into a low-margin, heavy-manufacturing” business.
Apple’s stock responded positively to the news however, although to date, Apple’s reported project “Titan” with authority to hire 1,000 industry specialists to create what would essentially be an iCar has not confirmed by Apple.
For his part, Akerson is taking the rumors seriously enough to comment, and observed the car industry is full of safety requirements, harder than outsiders may realize.
“A lot of people who don’t ever operate in it don’t understand and have a tendency to underestimate,” Akerson said.
Apple presently has around $180 billion in cash and is extremely profitable in the markets that it is in. How it would leverage its capabilities and knowhow into what is an altogether different business is unclear.
Akerson’s suggestion? Apple should stick with what it knows, electronics – as applied to cars, if it wants a piece of the automobile business.
Apple would do better, he said, to collaborate with automakers just as they sub out things like headlights to other manufacturers. In Apple’s case, it could develop automotive operating systems and infotainment and more and bypass the sticky business of carmaking.
“I would’ve signed it over” to Apple, he said of his days as GM’s CEO. “I’d have turned over the infotainment and interconnectivity of every GM car.”