If shortages of semiconductors, the possibility of a recession, and a change in propulsion that occurs once every century weren’t enough to keep automotive executives awake at night, here’s one more thing that should do the trick: consumers are eager to buy an Apple car before one even exists.
The findings of an annual survey conducted by Strategic Vision, which this year polled 200,000 people who had recently purchased new vehicles, have just been made public. The market research company polled consumers’ opinions on more than 45 different companies, and Apple was one of them for the first first time. The results showed that 26% of respondents said they would “certainly consider” purchasing a set of wheels from the company that makes iPhones, placing Apple in third place behind Toyota and Honda. When questioned about their opinion of the product’s quality, 24% of respondents checked the top box (“I adore it”), which was the highest response among all of the others by a significant margin.
This demonstrates a substantial amount of brand strength and indicates that there is likely to be a sizeable demand for automobiles in addition to all of these phones, laptops, watches, and television boxes.
It is yet unknown whether or not Tim Cook will really give the go-ahead for a product to be sold to all of these potential customers. A year ago, the company’s chief executive officer was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “We’ll watch what Apple does.” “Within our company, we look into a great deal of different things. A significant number of kids are never exposed to daylight.
According to a claim by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is working toward developing a completely driverless electric car and anticipates having one available around the year 2025. Fewer than a handful of companies are currently providing ride services in certain cities, despite the fact that many of these companies are working on developing autonomous driving technology. This is because many of these companies have been unable to deploy robotaxis on the timelines they had planned. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration needs to continuously having to remind American consumers that no vehicle now on the market that is capable of driving itself is currently available for purchase (hear that, Tesla owners?).
Whether or not it has autonomous driving capabilities, an Apple car could be a formidable competitor, especially considering the amount of technology that consumers want in their modern vehicles and the difficulties that established automakers have had interacting those perceptions (for example, see the feature story that Bloomberg published yesterday on Volkswagen’s software problems). Apple CEO Tim Cook employs legions of coders who are capable of developing the brains a modern electric vehicle needs to manage battery power and navigate traffic. Assuming that passengers will be able to safely divert their attention away from the road for short periods of time, the corporation also owns a wide variety of information that might be streamed into dashboard screens.
At least for the time being, Apple does not have a business partner in the manufacturing industry. However, one of the firms that it is most familiar with, Foxconn, which is responsible for the production of iPhones, has recently purchased a former General Motors assembly facility in the state of Ohio from the struggling startup Lordstown Motors. That manufacturing facility is large enough to comfortably produce 400,000 automobiles each year.
Although there are already plans to manufacture Endurance trucks for Lordstown and an electric vehicle named the Pear for Fisker, both of those businesses are still in the starting phase and do not have an established track record. It’s possible that Apple will have plenty of room in that factory in the years to come.
According to a study conducted by Strategic Vision, automobile manufacturers who are already facing difficulties in reacting to the competitive threat provided by Tesla could be in for another threat. However, Elon Musk should also take notice of this development, as more than half of Tesla customers have said that they would seriously consider purchasing an Apple vehicle in the future. Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision, thinks that everyone ought to be ready for whatever may come.