Dan Akerson, the now retired chief executive officer of General Motors believes Apple Inc. should not enter the business of developing and building automobiles – instead counseling them to push forward with automobile electronics.
This Tuesday Apple Inc. shares rose to a new record – valuing the company at around $745 billion – after reports late last week and over the weekend emerged from numerous sources that he Cupertino, California-based technology giant was involved in a project for an electric car – codenamed “Titan”. The news, which comes after Google Inc. has already presented its interest in developing autonomous electric vehicles, comes as another earthquake-level move for the traditional auto industry players. “I think somebody is kind of trying to cough up a hairball here,” Akerson said in an interview. “If I were an Apple shareholder, I wouldn’t be very happy. I would be highly suspect of the long-term prospect of getting into a low-margin, heavy-manufacturing” business.
Akerson, an automotive industry veteran, says that even though people believe otherwise, the business of making cars is harder than once could imagine – with numerous regulatory and safety requirements. He believes Apple has more potential in partnering with automakers to produce the electronic operating systems and entertainment equipment for their automobiles, much in the way the former would purchase a headlamp from a supplier. Akerson, 66, was at the helm of the largest US automaker from 2010 to 2014 – when he signed over the duties to Mary Barra to care for his wife. His broad strategy also included a push into new technologies in GM vehicles, such as 4G broadband cellular service or electric-car offerings.