Lots of people expect great things from Apple when it finally makes a car. But not legendary car guy and former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz. “When it comes to actually making cars, there’s no reason to assume that Apple, with no experience, will suddenly do a better job that General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota or Hyundai,” he told CNBC in an interview.
But others in the automotive industry think Apple has a decent chance to make a mark. "We think it’s exciting. It’s actually change that we are embracing. So I think Apple can do it. I think Google can do it," Don Butler, Ford's executive director for connected vehicles and services, told TrustedReviews in an interview.
That said, Butler also notes that companies may find more success through partnerships with other companies that excel at “different skill sets."
Google’s attempt at an electric self-driving car has been in the works since 2009 and has seen some real-world tests on California streets. But Apple’s front has been much quieter. Officially, there’s no word from the company on prospects of an Apple Car. That being said, several rumors point to a secret vehicle project, dubbed Project Titan. In May 2015, Apple was scouting for locations to test its vehicle, according to the Guardian. In September, Apple gave its project heads permission to triple the staff, up from the original 600 working on the program, the Wall Street Journal reported.
How Apple actually will fare in the automotive market isn’t expected to be seen until 2019 at the earliest. But in the meantime, investors will be looking closely at its fiscal 2016 first-quarter earnings, which are to be unveiled after markets close next Tuesday, followed by a 5 p.m. EST conference call.