The traditional global automakers have some room to breathe – even if the reports about Apple’s foray into the automotive industry pan out, their first car is still away from reaching the roads.
Technology giant Apple has been rumored to prepare the launch of an electric vehicle, possible equipped with at least some form of semi-autonomous driving features. While the news rocked the foundations of the automotive sector a few months back, the most optimistic estimates still put the “Apple Car” somewhere around 2020. According to a report by investment research company Sanford C. Bernstein, if the reports pan out, most likely the car would need to be purely electric and fully autonomous – and most likely built in China, addressing both production costs and the local overcapacity. In the short term, the firm says the automotive industry is not going to be fatally reshaped, only worrying about the threat from high technology upstarts on the longer term. The latter, together with traditional giants – such as Google – might bite into a large piece of the “pie” during the next decade.
While Google has already “flexed” its technology muscle and decided to go ahead and build 100 technology demonstrator cars – the little “bubble” vehicles, from Apple the major threat comes from its financial might. That, coupled with its humongous success in marketing new and successful products, is a force to be reckoned with. Apple has a cash hoard of $178 and hits year’s first quarter brought them no less than $18 billion. And its current market value is rivaling the combination of the globe’s seven biggest automakers.