Watch Out Tesla Consumers Want an Apple Car

A potential arrival of Apple in the automotive sector could redistribute the cards.

It’s the final that car and tech fans crave: Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report vs. Apple  (AAPL) – Get Apple Inc. Report; Elon Musk versus Tim Cook. 

It would be a match of titans, pitting two of the biggest innovative companies of recent years against each other. It will be difficult to determine the winner. How to bet against Musk, who has completely turned the entire automotive sector upside down? Since Tesla, all car manufacturers only see themselves as tech groups. Over-the-air update of features, Tesla’s signature, has become the new normal. And how not to bet on Apple which transformed the mobile phone. 

Both companies have great talents.

Either way, consumers seem to want this game. Consumers say they are ready to buy an Apple car even though it does not yet exist and it is not even certain that it could exist one day.

Over 50% of Tesla Owners Would Buy an Apple Car

An annual study by the firm Strategic Vision of 200,000 vehicle owners reveals that 26% of these car brand customers say they would “definitely consider” buying an Apple car.

The Cupertino, California-based company thus arrives at the third position after Toyota  (TM) – Get Toyota Motor Corporation Report (38%) and Honda  (HNDAF)  (32%). Ford  (F) – Get Ford Motor Company Report is ranked 4th with 21%, Tesla is only 5th with 20% and Lexus is 6th with 19%. BMW (17%), Audi  (VLKAF) (16%) and Porsche  (POAHY)  (11%) follow. These data are from respondents who said they’d “definitely consider” each brand, Strategic Vision explained.

What should worry Tesla and other automakers is that 24% of respondents placed Apple far ahead when it comes to quality. Indeed, they are 24% to have answered “I love it” when asked about their impression of quality.

Tesla only collected 11% on this point, the same for Lexus, BMW and Porsche. Toyota reaps 15% on quality, Honda 13% and Audi 10%.

This is the first time that Strategic Vision has included Apple in this survey, which covers more than 45 automotive brands.

“What should be concerning to others is that Apple generates a greater amount of Love than any other automotive company, double that of strong brands like Honda, Toyota, and Tesla,” advises Strategic Vision President Alexander Edwards.

Unsurprisingly, Tesla customers have the ideal profile of potential Apple car customers: “Over 50% of Tesla owners would ‘definitely consider’ a future Apple vehicle; everyone should be prepared,” Edwards said.

Will Apple Ever Produce a Car?

“Of course, what Apple ultimately presents in terms of styling, powertrain, product, and other key features will finally determine the level of interest generated among car shoppers. However, their brand awareness and reputation provide a formidable platform that automotive manufacturers should brace themselves for accordingly,” continued Edwards.

But the iPhone maker has one big downside: Apple has never produced a car and it’s not sure if it will be soon despite rumors.

“We’ll see what Apple does,” Cook told the New York Times in 2021. “We investigate so many things internally. Many of them never see the light of day.”

“The good news for current automotive brands is that Apple’s road to destiny isn’t a given,” said Christopher Chaney, Strategic Vision Senior Vice President. “Designing future strategy and building cars based on ‘True Innovation’ involves rich and impactful impressions, a blend of art and science. Having highly motivational features that are each linked to the customer’s values and emotions is what will keep a potential Apple car on a relatively level playing field.” 

Apple is already present in the automobile via Carplay, which allows car owners to connect their iPhone to their vehicle. This suggest that in terms of technologies fitted to a vehicle, the Cupertino giant will have no problem competing. 

It is on the industrial level that there is a problem. But Apple might have a solution: the iPhone maker could extend its existing partnership with its supplier Foxconn which owns a former General Motors factory in Lordstown, Ohio.

The Cupertino, Calif., tech giant is also particularly interested in embattled EV maker Canoo  (GOEV) – Get Canoo Inc. Report, according to media reports. Apple and Canoo have had discussions in the past. Ulrich Kranz, former CEO of Canoo, is one of the top executives on the Apple Car Project, Bloomberg reported last May.

Apple is interested in Canoo’s engineers for their expertise in software, automotive manufacturing, drive trains, battery technology, and car interiors and exteriors.

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