The long and meandering journey tech giant Apple has had in its push to make a car took an interesting series of turns earlier this year. Rumours it was looking to work with Hyundai were confirmed, before being quashed rather publicly.
More recently, Apple was linked to talks with Nissan, only for those to seemingly hit a dead end too. Some have speculated that Apple is playing hardball with possible partner manufacturers over the way its car will be branded. Either way, things seem to have gone stagnant.
The saga will no doubt have a few bigwigs in the traditional motoring world chuckling to themselves. Making cars is hard, and very few upstarts last long in the industry.
Speaking at a news conference as chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Toyota president Akio Toyoda said that he hoped Apple would take the challenge more seriously.
“Anyone can make a car if they have the technical ability, but, once they make a car, I hope they’ll recognize they have to steel themselves for 40 years of responding to customers and to various changes,” he said.
“Technology companies entering the car industry means that the car industry has a future and choices for customers will widen.
“We welcome new entries, but I don’t think it would be fair for those people who are newly entering to say, ‘We don’t need to steel ourselves for 40 years, and you other folks who have been around for many years, you do that.’ ”
There’s some truth in what Toyoda’s saying. Much has been written about Apple’s ‘planned obsolescence’ in its phones, which is a far cry from the kinds of commitment brands need to show customers in the car world.
With rumours abound that Apple have been gauging other Japanese car makers for interest in Project Titan, the slight heat in Toyoda’s comments most likely mean that a Toyota and Apple partnership is off the cards.