Volkswagen Chairman of the Board Herbert Diess says he’s excited to see what Apple’s “virtually unlimited” means and resources will mean for the auto industry.
In a German-language post on LinkedIn, Diess wrote:
“We look forward to new competitors who will certainly accelerate the transformation of our industry and bring in new skills. The incredible valuation [of Apple] and thus the virtually unlimited access to resources instills a lot of respect in us. A real challenge – dimensions larger than that within our industry (e.g. Toyota Motor Corporation) I have already said: The most valuable company in the world will again be a mobility company – it can be Tesla, Apple or Volkswagen AG.” (translated)
Volkswagen and the Apple Car
His post comes after a wave of recent reports about Project Titan, an autonomous vehicle program Apple has reportedly been working on since at least 2014.
The project recently moved internally at Apple to fall under the leadership of Apple’s AI boss. Given that autonomous driving is a big AI challenge, that makes a lot of sense. Tesla CEO Elon Musk also said this week that he gave Apple the chance to buy Tesla for 1/10 of its current value, which would equate to roughly $60 billion. (Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly turned down the meeting with Musk.) And according to a recent Reuters report, the Apple Car could enter manufacturing by 2024.
Whether automakers really are excited to see Apple enter the automotive sphere is up for debate. (Apple itself famously gave a sarcastic welcome to IBM when it joined the personal computer business in 1981.)
It’s worth noting, however, that Apple and VW do have some shared history. Back in 2013, Apple teamed up with Volkswagen to create the iBeetle. This was a car “stylistically linked” to Apple, boasting Apple-inspired colors, an iPhone docking station, and an app for controlling the car’s features.