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Mercedes-Benz boss ‘not losing sleep’ over Apple Car rumours


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The chairman of Mercedes-Benz has played down the significance of Apple’s potential incursion into the automotive industry, likening it to the German manufacturer suddenly entering the smartphone game.

Speaking to the Australian site Motoring.com.au (via 9to5Mac) Dieter Zetsche says, while he remains full of respect for Apple’s achievements, he wouldn't advise the Cupertino company try its hand at cars.

He said: “If there were a rumour that Mercedes or Daimler planned to start building smartphones then they (Apple) would not be sleepless at night. And the same applies to me.

“And this is full of respect for Apple. That is what I am saying.”

The comments come after Mercedes-Benz lost its head of R&D to Apple’s mystery automotive project. R&D boss Johann Jungwirth signed on with the company, joining a number of Tesla employees jumping ship to Cupertino.

Related: Apple Car news

Earlier on Tuesday, Tesla boss Elon Musk told Bloomberg Apple is aggressively targeting his employees with huge sign on fees and wage increases. Musk claims Tesla workers are being offered a whopping $250,000 up front, plus up to 60 per cent salary boosts.

Despite Apple’s rumoured forays, the automotive industry doesn’t seem to concerned about the competition. Last week, the former head of General Motors warned Apple should think very carefully before betting the car on a car.

“If I were an Apple shareholder, I wouldn’t be very happy,” Dan Akerson said. “I would be highly suspect of the long-term prospect of getting into a low-margin, heavy-manufacturing.

“Look at the margins of an iPhone versus a car,” he added. “I’d rather have the margins associated with the phone and produce [them].”

Are the big auto players right to dismiss Apple's rumoured plans? Or will they come to regret underestimating the world's richest and most successful company?


February 24, 2015, 11:57 pm

I agree and disagree. I agree for all the statements made in this article. The automaker know it not be an advisable move on Apple's behave, and I believe they correct. I also feel they know what Apple is doing is not indirect competition. But what if their is a ripe opportunity that could lead to competition to the industry as a whole

This opportunity does exist, and is ripening with each passing day. What if you could custom build a business model that representative 5 to 10 times the profit of the current auto manufacture business model? What if this same model offered many increased benefits to customers? What if you it cost the customer a whole lot less.

Welcome to the Autonomous Driverless Car low hanging fruit.

Owning a driverless car opens the opportunity, and if it is electric (EV) add bonus points. The Revolution will not be televised", but it will be electrified. Did you hear that esla is getting ready to install Automated Robot charging at their supercharger? What? Welcome to the revolution.

(1) Imagine you have a custom design vehicle for whatever you are currently doing for a fraction of the cost. You picking up stuff from Home Depot, going to a wedding, carrying half of the softball team, and this list go on at least 20 scenarios.

(2) Imagine greater personal security, greater convenience, quicker travel, and greater traffic safety.

(3) Apple and Google are already suited for this, because the backbone is software and user interface. One last thing, Microsoft sure is slow to the ball. Wonder if they even get it if they read this comment? Maybe there is no hope of Microsoft operating the windows in a car.


February 25, 2015, 12:43 am

This new industry expected to be the next trillion dollar industry. Look for front runners Google, then Uber, but now Apple is setting house in order to compete for personal transport. I expect Amazon to become a player, especially in delivery competing with Google.

There are a number of variations of this business model, because there is a lot of revenues to go around.

This will be very disruptive to a number of industries such as auto manufactures, insurance, and many more. "The revolution will not be televised." ,


February 25, 2015, 7:15 am

The biggest cost of car ownership is time-based depreciation. And most of the time the car is parked up doing nothing. If Apple make driverless cars, and users just book required availability, you could have the full use of a car for less than half the cost. The car just shows up when you need it, then trundles away to do another job. If the car is just as nice as a Mercedes, and costs less than half, then Mercedes ought to be worried.

The Mad Duke

February 27, 2015, 4:23 pm

The likes of Apple & Google can afford to fail.... and they will fail with this one. They are following in the footsteps of Microsoft where they focus heavily on R&D.

Just interesting 'read' and nothing more!

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