Apple’s long-rumoured entry to the car market is sure to be disruptive, but are automakers concerned?
Ford says it isn’t concerned about the impending threat of an Apple Car.
We asked Dr Ken Washington, VP of Research and Advanced Engineering at Ford, whether the Apple Car was a scary prospect for the company.
“No it [isn’t], because we don’t know what they’re doing,” Washington shot back. “And to be honest with you, we really don’t care.”
“Our strategy to expand our business to be an automaker and a mobility company is based on what we see happening in the world,” he continues.
Ford's Dr Ken Washington
According to Washington, Ford’s core business is part of a $2.3 trillion market, of which the company holds around a 6% share.
But if you take all modes of transportation – minus airplanes – you end up with a market valued at $5.4 trillion, he explains.
“We basically get zero percent of that,” says Washington. “So if we can become a successful mobility service provider, and get any reasonable percentage of that market, it’ll be good business. It’ll be good business for our shareholders.”
Washington believes that market is “big enough for there to be plenty of players”.
“Uber, Apple, Google – whoever wants to play in that market that clearly aren’t traditional competitiors,” he says, “I think there’s plenty of room for it.”
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But Ford’s advantage over Silicon Valley, Washington contends, is as follows: “We know how to make cars and if you’re a mobility provider, cars are still going to be part of the equation.”
Earlier this year, we spoke to Ford about whether Apple could create a successful car business.
"We welcome others joining. We welcome the activity that's in the space. We think it's exciting. It's actually changed that we are embracing," Don Butler, Executive Director for Connected Vehicles at Ford, told us, speaking at CES 2016. "So I think Apple can do it. I think Google can do it."
Rumours of Apple's imminent entry to the car market have been circulating for months, with claims that a vehicle will go on sale in 2019.
However, Apple has made no public comment on the matter thus far, so we can only speculate for now.
Do you think Ford should fear the valley’s automotive efforts? Let us know in the comments.