“Automotive executives are taking seriously the prospect that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. will emerge as competitors even as they consider partnering with the two,” Mathieu Rosemain, Hans Nichols, and Elisabeth Behrmann report for Bloomberg. “‘If these two companies intend to solely produce electric vehicles, it could go fast,’ Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said at the Geneva International Motor Show. ‘We are also very interested in the technologies of Google and Apple, and I think that we, as the Volkswagen company, can bring together the digital and mobile world.'”
MacDailyNews Take: Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn seems to have a good handle on things.
“Apple has been working on an electric auto and is pushing to begin production as early as 2020, people with knowledge of the matter said last month,” Rosemain, Nichols, and Behrmann report. “Google said in January it aims to have a self-driving car on the road within five years.”
MacDailyNews Take: Which road? (So we can avoid it.)
“‘The competition certainly needs to be taken seriously,’ said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany,” Rosemain, Nichols, and Behrmann report. “‘We never underestimate any competition,’ said Ian Robertson, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s sales chief. ‘The entry barriers, which were in the past maybe more substantial, are now slightly lower. But at the same time, the complexities of the car industry are still there as well.'”
MacDailyNews Take: These guys are saying all the right things.
“‘It’s exactly what this industry needed: a disruptive interloper,’ said Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. ‘It’s a good thing but when you are one of the guys whose life is being disrupted then you are not necessarily looking forward to the event,'” Rosemain, Nichols, and Behrmann report. “‘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,’ said Didier Leroy, Toyota Motor Corp.’s European chief. ‘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.'”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: It’s nice to see a group of sane, level-headed, self-aware industry executives. What a contrast to the cellphone industry in the lead-up to and the aftermath of January 9, 2007.