As they say in sports, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings” but it is over. Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi would say, “No Apple Car for you.” A few months ago I outlined the basic reasons Why Apple Won’t Build Apple Car.
Apple won’t do it. Why? First, Apple often is late to new technology parties, and this one– mostly autonomous electric cars– is a party ship that already sailed. Apple missed the boat. The biggest success among such new car makers is also the most Apple like manufacturer– Tesla. Say goodbye to Apple car.
Where’s The Jack
Apple being late to the car party doesn’t mean the company is denied a place at the autonomous vehicle table, but it’s not looking too good. Vehicle manufacturers have partnered with or created their own electric car stables and already have autonomous projects well under way. Apple is behind the curve and far down the street from those making public noise.
The best chance Apple had the past five years is the only chance Apple has of getting into the business. Tesla. Apple should have bought Tesla when it was affordable. It’s not exactly a bargain these days with a stock price that eclipses Ford and General Motors which manufacture far more vehicles and have real profits.
Two additional reasons Apple hasn’t jumped into the industry are, 1) money, and, 2) building cars is difficult.
Money? Apple has more money than many developed nations, so up front money isn’t the issue. ‘Where’s the jack‘ is a phrase I use for ‘Show me the money.’ There’s just not much revenue and profits to be made as a startup in an industry overflowing with competitors who make excellent vehicles and are on the verge of moving self-driving, mostly autonomous vehicles into the electric age.
Apple is a victim of its own success. The iPhone makes more money than any car manufacturer. Even the side business of Services makes more profits than Ford or General Motors combined. Industry darling Tesla struggles to make a profit.
Apple might have a line of the best electronic gadgets that money can build, but building an electric car is difficult. Tesla did it slowly, probably the right way with an entry-level vehicle to test technology and tune manufacturing prowess (and without the benefit of dealers and distributors), and still almost went out of business.
Successful brands build in differentiation to their products. A Kia is not an Audi. A Nissan Leaf is not a Tesla Model S. What would Apple bring to the market that would differentiate an in-house designed and built Apple Car that Tesla doesn’t have already?
Engineers from Apple’s car project are leaving in droves and that’s about all we need to know about Apple Car. It’s time to say goodbye.
Unless Tesla’s stock price drops and the company needs more investment money.