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Following rumors Apple plans to make its own car to compete with Tesla, former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson is weighing in on the matter. In an interview with Automotive News, Akerson said he doesn’t think Apple has what it takes to make a car, mainly because of the manufacturing process. 

“A lot of people who don’t ever operate in it don’t understand and have a tendency to underestimate,” said Akerson. “They’d better think carefully if they want to get into the hard-core manufacturing,” he said of Apple. “We take steel, raw steel, and turn it into car. They have no idea what they’re getting into if they get into that.”

Akerson held his position at General Motors for three and a half years and has had several other jobs in the auto industry. The former executive said he believes that Apple should stick to in-car electronics for legacy car makers, like the Cupertino-based company is currently doing with CarPlay.

Akerson’s comments come after the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and The Financial Times reported that Apple has a team together working on a car. It’s not clear if this is something that is actually coming to market, however these publications report the building is actually happening.

This isn’t the first time an executive’s comments could back fire with thoughts on Apple.

To his credit, I don’t think Akerson was doubting the product, but rather the logistics and how Apple could handle them.

Source: Automotive News via The Verge

  • James G

    They’ve got the money to make it happen. This guy is basically saying “I don’t want you to compete with GM” because he knows if Apple got serious about it, they’d win. At least the high end luxury vehicle market…which GM doesn’t really compete well in anyway.

    • Fanboy 

      Forget money, that doesn’t guarantee success (look at Blackberry). But Apple is know for its innovation, design process and most importantly (in this case) it knows how to seal manufacturing deals, cut down production costs and increase profit margins all while still building a great product! THIS is why any market they enter should be scared.

      • James G

        They’ve got the money to fail. And this guy talks about steel manufacturing like Apple has never manufactured metal before.

      • Mike

        buying companies or copying other companies isn’t innovation

    • Guest

      Um Cadillac is a high end luxury vehicle…

      • James G

        Cadillacs don’t sell as much as a Mercedes, Lexus or even BMW.

      • Guest

        In the US they do.

      • James G

        The US is only a small slice of the world’s market for things.

      • Guest

        They sell more in each of their countries, just like Cadillac sells more in its own country.

    • Tommy Gumbs

      They know nothing about the car buisness. Your statement is idiotic. Having monetary resources garuntees nothing in business.

      • James G

        Having monetary resources guarantees the flexibility to try and fail, I never said money guarantees success; it certainly doesn’t.

        They have BILLIONS of dollars in capital. Billions. They could use that capital to buy a car company if they wanted; that alone would take them from knowing “nothing about the car business” to knowing a lot more than they do today.

      • Tommy Gumbs

        Wrong!!!!! However, if they were to get into the Automotive industry acquiring an automotive company would be the best strategy, but that alone would not mean it would succeed.

        But to your point, research it and you will see that many factors go into making mergers and acquisitions successful. But historically most fail unless the merger was is between organizations in the same field.

      • James G

        Not really seeing where you have facts to prove me wrong; an opinion that Apple would “win” the market is just that, an opinion.

        I stand by my facts, though, that Apple’s large cash reserve enables them to try and fail (or fail until they succeed).

      • Magnusarie

        Sadly, it seems you don’t know much about finance and investing.
        Apple might have a huge cash hoard but doesn’t mean its unlimited…..
        They cannot afford to try, fail and try and fail again, there are investors to account for, who will scream for their money.
        Auto industry is not the mobile phone business, people seems to forget that fact…….

      • James G

        I made no comparison of the auto industry to the mobile phone industry; that they are different is not lost on me.

        I do know about finance and investing, but I won’t waste another sentence serving up my background.

        Apple’s cash hoard isn’t unlimited, I did not state that it was. But the way you and Tommy argue, it makes it sound like no one is able to even start a car company or expand into that market. You seem to overlook or underestimate the engineering skill & engineering culture of Apple. They’re hiring people in the automotive industry to build that experience and expertise. Yes, they could also acquire a company (certainly not a ‘merger’ since they outweigh all auto manufacturers in market cap.) but that doesn’t guarantee success either.

        Back to that cash hoard; no company or startup or VC firm has that much money. Apple does, and with it they’re able to invest in acquiring talent, invest in educating existing talent, test things and learn along the way. I’m by no means saying they could churn out an automobile and “own” the category in the next 12-18 months; that’s absurd. They didn’t do that for the mobile phone business, no reason to expect they would in any other new category.

        This kind of move takes years, a decade even. It could just now be beginning to unfold and we won’t see anything for years.

        But, you still can’t dispute that they have the money and the talent to do it and have an opportunity to be successful.

      • Tommy Gumbs

        I guess the failed merger between Mercedes and Crysler implies these two auto manufacturers knew nothing about there own industry.

        When mergers happen a great deal is spent on analyzing synergy. There is no guarantee that corporate cultures will mix, etc etc . Further more there is always uncertainty on how the companies should be run. There is more to the equation than having Billions.

      • James G

        The failed merger of Mercedes/Chrystler doesn’t imply that. Having done multiple case studies on mergers & acquisitions, I understand it’s not a simple undertaking and often times doesn’t end the way either party hopes (or are even successful).

        I’m not arguing that having money equates to success, or that it equates to having the intelligence to make strong, sound, strategic decisions. But your chances are greater if you have it, than if you don’t. And they have it. And they have intelligence which is proven by the fact that no company rises to the top of the world in market cap. by being run by idiots.

        We’re not talking about some computer company, or some phone maker, or some software company. We are talking about the most profitable company in the history of the world. Stop and think about that for a moment.

      • Tommy Gumbs

        Most profitable or not, they are a manufac of computers, devices, and software. And again, the value of the company means nothing. If you have studied mergers and acquisitions you should inherently know and accept that.

        Time and time again corporate management has assumed that just because they are good at one thing, they will be equally successful in another, which often turns out to be incorrect.

        There are plenty of other examples….PEPSI co and Tacobell/Pizza Hut. Aol/time warner, etc etc. Though not all mergers or aquisitions fail, the point stands that the most successful have been between companies that have synergy, congeneric in nature, or are at least horizontal or vertical mergers or aquisitions.

      • James G

        I think there are things we agree on, but our arguments are getting mixed up. Such is the nature of internet commenting.

      • Tommy Gumbs

        I agree. There is such a fine line between content and context when conversing via the the Internet.

      • Jerry

        They might not know the car business but they will hire people that do.

      • Tommy Gumbs

        Lol. If it was only that simple.

      • Magnusarie

        I agree with you , a few people on this thread thinks it’s that simple and that Apple will dominate that industry

  • Merman123

    Of course he’d say that…..

    • Its funny, I remember hearing the same tune from RIM not too long ago.

      • @dongiuj

        Also didn’t matey from TAG Heuer same something similar?

  • Dan

    Personally I don’t really think it’s a good idea but I’ll be interested to see what they come up with, if it is indeed true.

  • moofer

    GM can’t engineer their way out of a wet newspaper. I like how frightened he sounds of his pension.

  • moofer

    …and when they do, GM will have their lobbyists get some law passed to make it illegal to sell them in Michigan, because that’s how they compete.

    • @dongiuj

      Like other companies trying to place sales ban on other products? Can’t think of what companies have tried that to stop competition.

  • Chindavon

    The more you tell Apple they can’t, they hit you over the head with a sledgehammer and stand over their dead corpse and say “Now what?”

  • JulianZH

    he is a “former ceo” for a reason haha. never underestimate someone, especially a company with mega load of cash.

  • Jose Gonzalez

    Just read the article, good read.

  • therealjjohnson

    I’m not buying a car made by Apple. Period.

    • Andrieux Querido

      as long isn’t Chinese

    • Jeffrey

      You never know!

  • nonchalont

    Be interesting to see an Apple Car and see how Apple will enter the market. I believe Apple can do it with an all electric vehicle.

  • To me these cars are only going to be used on their new campus or to get across town to their previous location. They would be perfect to give tours and get place to place with multiple people in them.

    • iPhoneWINS

      you are right

    • James G

      Great hypothesis!

    • @dongiuj

      That’s along the lines of what I’ve been saying. Shuttle service or something like that.

  • I’d be curious to know how much apple would charge consumers if they actually do make a car with the intention of selling them. But either way the former CEO of GM is wrong. Apple can handle anything they choose to undertake. They’ve got the resources, both financially and technologically to innovate and put some competition back into the automotive industry.

  • Andrieux Querido

    F… you GM, you killed the electric car EV1 and sold batteries to Exxon.

  • Jeffrey

    Hahahah who’s laughing now Ballmer?:”’)

  • Jeffrey

    I’m still waiting for the iTV though! I’d love that!

  • Eldaria

    Like if the Tesla was not expensive enough, we don’t need an Apple premium on a car.

  • Tommy Gumbs

    He is right. As a business entity you stick to what you know. For Applecto do this, they would have to aquire a manufacturing for, or incre enough in one to have a controlling interest. Either way it’s a bad idea.

    • iPhoneWINS

      apple is getting like Microsoft now to big and too rich so now that are just throwing money at madness first thy buy crappy beats and now tesla…lol

      • George

        Did you ever think that apple can’t buy Tesla because it’s not for sale?

  • ECLE

    they will just stick an apple on a Mercedes and call it Apple-Benz. And we like robots will still line up. BTW any jailbreak news for the Apple-Benz!

  • Matt

    I mean I won’t buy the apple car if they do actually make one. Because I’ll buy a car from a car manufacturer and a computer from a computer manufacturer. I don’t want to have iAds bombarding me to the left and right. However, it’ll be interesting to see what apple comes up with.
    Also, electric cars interest me as much as the newsstand icon on my springboard – so does GM

  • Magnusarie

    Interesting how people assume that Apple will take over any industry they march into. The auto industry is completely different from mobile phone manufacturing, and the challenges and dynamics of the auto industry is enormous.

    More so apple will only dabble into a business with high volume like mobile phone and computers, auto manufacturing is not that kind of business and the cost of capital outlay for a viable car business that we expect from Apple will suck off their cash hoard.

    Even so , getting a mobile phone is not the same as buying a car, i guess most of us can attest to that.

    Tim cook and co is smarter than that to get involved in that industry

    Apple is definitely looking to innovate as things are stagnant sort of but certainly not into car manufacturing.

    Even with the iwatch, apple is gradually dampening expectations of expected sales.
    I agree that Apple will keep on making money but going into auto manufacturing will be disastrous.

    • @dongiuj

      My thoughts exactly. We could be wrong but like you said, it will eat into its mega funds.
      Apple is an expensive gadget company, not an expensive automobile company.

      If Volkswagen with all its years of experience in mass producing cars had problems with a fuse blowing in one of its cars, just think about the problems apple will have with all the bugs it has in its iPhone, iPad and computers recently. Wouldn’t trust a car it produces as far as I could throw it.
      Now, if it were to purchase a highly respected car company or have enough control over that highly respected company to say “build a nice car that we can load up with our gadgets” then that would be a whole different story.

      Just MY OPINION, before anyone starts blowing their own fuse over what I just said.

  • igorsky

    Reminds of the Tag Heuer exec lambasted the Apple Watch, and now can’t say enough good things about it.

    Betting against Apple is a losing proposition.

    • Magnusarie

      If you have read the news lately, Apple is dampening down expectations with regards to the watch features as they cant fulfill its initial product features, I agree that the watch will sell but not in the expected volumes
      Keep in mind that a watch is not the same as a mobile phone

  • Gregg

    If they do make a car, it’ll follow the pattern of the rest of their product: simple, reliable, gorgeous, innovative, clever and priced a little higher than the rest of the pack, targeting the higher end of the clientele. And they will walk away with decent profits. They are a team of design and operational geniuses, there is little reason to doubt they can succeed.

  • sosarozay300

    apple has enough money to buy GM out

  • DeRoth

    If tomorrow he will be offered a job at Apple his statement will be as @@@ “A lot of people who don’t ever operate in it understand and have a tendency to innovate ,” said Akerson. “Our competitors better think carefully if they want to get into the hard-core manufacturing with us,” he said . “We take steel, raw steel, and turn it into car .” @@@@ lol

  • drewjbx

    I can see all the apple fans camping out to buy one when the car goes on sale!

  • Mark Kramer

    And GM shouldn’t have accepted bailouts and then stiffed the tax payers on top of it.

  • MacGuru96

    I really think Apple should just buy Tesla. That’d be pretty smart, though I’m not sure how Elon Musk would take to it.

    If one thing is certain, it’s that Apple, like Tesla, will most definitely not be using the dealership model to sell whatever car(s) they may make, and rightly so.

  • gittlopctbi

    …Says the CEO who shouldn’t have been making cars either. Except for their trucks and the Corvette.

  • MKB4k

    The real reason why is because if apple made a car, they would have to put windows it.

  • Hussain Alsanona

    I don’t think that apple is planning to build a car I think it’s something related to car industry