Apple hires Porsche VP of chassis development for Apple Car

Apple has hired long-standing head of chassis development at Porsche for the construction of their own vehicle. Cayenne boss Dr. Manfred Harrer was considered one of the best engineers in the Volkswagen Group. Now, he’s with Apple’s Project Titan.

vehicle under wraps

Jan C. Wehmeyer for BusinessInsider Deutschland:

The commitment of a chassis expert is a clear signal that Apple itself is developing a mobile stand for the iCar. The spectacular personnel change from Zuffenhausen to Silicon Valley, so far it has been quiet… At the end of last year, Harrer is said to have said goodbye to colleagues without revealing the reason. According to the LinkedIn profile, he is still an employee of Porsche. I understand that the sports car manufacturer insisted on an industry-standard lock before Harrer can start with a new employe…

The graduate engineer began his career at Audi, then move[d] to BMW, where he became a steering luminary. In May 2007, he accepted the call from Zuffenhausen, where he took over the main department of the entire chassis development from 2016. A few months before his departure, Porsche boss Oliver Blume promoted him to series manager Cayenne.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, bolstered even more with this news that Apple has hired the Porsche VP of chassis development, Apple is building a vehicle, not software to be loaded into other company’s vehicles. That’s not how Steve Jobs designed Apple to work.

Apple is working on actual vehicles, not just some “vehicleOS” they’d license out to others (which was always a stupid proposition, as anyone who’s studied how Apple works for more than 3 minutes knows implicitly).MacDailyNews, August 28, 2018

I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.Steve Jobs, October 12, 2004

As we wrote back in March 2015: “When Apple enters markets, it’s because they can bring something(s) so unique to the table that significant disruption is inevitable.”

When Apple looks at what categories to enter, we ask these kinds of questions: What are the primary technologies behind this? What do we bring? Can we make a significant contribution to society with this? If we can’t, and if we can’t own the key technologies, we don’t do it. That philosophy comes directly from [Steve Jobs] and it still very much permeates the place. I hope that it always will.Apple CEO Tim Cook, March 18, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. I understand that electric cars have a potentially bright future but I have a hard time wrapping my head around AAPL being a car manufacturer.

    There’s more to this story.

    1. They will farm out parts production (of course) and most likely contract vehicle assembly too (though perhaps Apple will explore an innovative assembly approach, like they did with the Mac Pro). But no question the engineering will be all Apple. I can’t imagine they would do it any other way.

      Look at the MacBook — machined from a solid block of a-loo-minium with asymmetrical fan rotors — and tell me they don’t have engineering in their veins.

    2. It’ll be called the Kia Apple 1
      Followed by
      Kia Apple 1.01
      Kia Apple 1.11
      …all the way to domination

      Seriously, Apple could get by with contracted_out car building with say Kia whilst getting their heads around the whole concept of being a ‘constructor’.
      Keep an eye on those automotive robotics companies. That would be a sure sign and I’m half expecting a Foxconn announcement to follow.
      Also, once owned a 911 G model – a tail happy beast that ate rubber.

  2. Remember when Apple used to leak inside information like a sieve? LOL. It is intriguing to think what Apple might bring to an EV, now that CarPlay has become a highly desired feature of most new cars. So this is more than entertainment-navigation-communication centre software. Apple would probably not hire Porsche engineers to build a concept car to allow them to sell tech or designs to other car makers. So this is Apple putting more than a toe into the water but I certainly have no clue what Apple is going to do. One thing for sure, this has been in the works for a long, long time.

  3. Apple should design its own all-electric chassis. Apple is focused on the customer, making products highly usable and long lasting. The time it takes to recharge car’s battery is a hindrance to usability. Apple will innovate and overcome…

    Apple’s Car can have a feature that I’ll call PowerPod. It’s a module that mounts into Car to serve as self-contained power source, to “top off” Car’s (plug-in) main battery as needed. Customer chooses power type. It can be very small engine (plus fuel). Or maybe hydrogen fuel cell. Or secondary battery to extend range. Or “Mr. Fusion” (future technology).

    Unlike hybrid cars (designed for specific fuel type), Apple Car chassis is standard and all-electric. PowerPod module is standard size with a standard electrical output, easily swapped (to meet customers’ changing needs) without replacing entire Car. Third parties can produce (and refurbish) PowerPods, and provide service to exchange them.

  4. Porsche is a great car company, but they build in the first world Stuttgart (Taycan) and not in some slave wage country and they have good relations with the union and the critical on the line people, hopefully, Apple will learn something that is lacking in the American auto companies.

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