Toyota president tells Apple to prepare for the long-haul with 'Apple Car'

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Toyota President Akio Toyoda said that if an "Apple Car" becomes a reality, the Cupertino company should prepare for at least 40 years of service and support.

Toyota's President weighed in on Apple's expected entry into the auto industry
Toyota's President weighed in on Apple's expected entry into the auto industry


In a news conference on Thursday in his role as chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Mr. Toyoda said that he welcomed Apple's entry into the auto business, but added that the Cupertino company had better brace itself for the long haul.

"Anyone can make a car if they have the technical ability," said Mr. Toyoda. "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."

"Technology companies entering the car industry means that the car industry has a future, and choices for customers will widen," Toyoda continued. "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.'"

Rumors have long pointed to Apple entering the auto industry. It would allegedly be a fully-featured self-driving electric vehicle that will compete with Tesla and other EVs. Apple could partner with other popular manufacturers like Hyundai or BMW or seek another option.

Investors say the "Apple Car" is a matter of "when and not if." An automated electric car from Apple could generate an estimated $50 billion by 2030.

An
An "Apple Car" could reportedly arrive as early as 2024


Apple is confirmed to have been in partnership talks with established automakers. In January, Hyundai took the unusual step of confirming it was in negotiations with Apple. The public comments led to Apple reportedly pausing talks due to the lack of discretion. Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia then attempted to distance themselves from those comments.

While negotiations were ongoing, further reports surfaced claiming Hyundai bosses were "agonizing" over the project. The automaker allegedly considered handing the project over to Kia to help minimize any impact to the Hyundai brand from becoming a manufacturer of vehicles for other companies.

Hyundai is not the only potential partner for Apple for the "Apple Car," with the iPhone maker putting feelers out in other locations. It has allegedly held talks with carmakers in Japan, and UK MPs have also shown interest in bringing production to the country.

This isn't the first time established industry heavyweights have issued warnings to Apple with perhaps a hint of condescension as the Cupertino company enters a new market. After Apple announced the first iPhone, Microsoft's CEO at the time, Steve Ballmer, said, "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." At the time, Microsoft was pushing its Windows Mobile operating system.

Motorola's CTO also commented at the time, saying, "There is nothing revolutionary or disruptive about any of the technologies. Touch interface, movement sensors, accelerometer, morphing, gesture recognition, 2-megapixel camera, built-in MP3 player, WiFi, Bluetooth, are already available in products from leaders in the mobile industry."

An "Apple Car" wouldn't likely release until 2024 or later.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 52
    ibillibill Posts: 400member
    "We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent car. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in."
    StrangeDaysroundaboutnowdk49byronllkruppradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 52
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,516member
    Yes, because Apple knows nothing about long term service and support. 
    gilly33byronlradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 52
    Yes, because Apple knows nothing about long term service and support. 

    In terms of cars, they actually don't.

    Furthermore, Mr. Toyoda is not outright pulling a Ballmer here, so the comparison in the article seems to be somewhat unfounded.

    I think the phrase reads like Mr. Toyoda says that Apple cannot simply take the profits of selling the car and pass the duty to support it to a manufacturer as these kinds of things last longer than todays tech companies - on average - even exist.

    It's hard to imagine an Apple from 2021 still supporting a product from the Apple from 2005, but that is exactly what Toyoda is alluding to.

    It seems that todays tech companies are by nature not able to think in such time frames.
    edited March 11 genovellestevenozdewmetmayflyingdpwatto_cobrabeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 4 of 52
    ibill said:
    "We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent car. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in."
    That's not what he's saying at all.  In the article he even says, "Anyone can make a car if they have the technical ability".  He saying the tech companies should be prepared for service and support timeframes they may not be used to with their current product life cycles.  
    Yes, because Apple knows nothing about long term service and support. 
    Supporting a phone or computer for 5-10 years is not comparable to supporting something for up to 4 decades.  His caution is about understanding the requirement for a much longer timeframe of support.  
    gregoriusmshaminocharlesatlasmuthuk_vanalingambeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 5 of 52
    Yes, because Apple knows nothing about long term service and support. 

    In terms of cars, they actually don't.
    Very true. They won't be able to get out of stopping support and spares production after 5 years. Then there is the right to repair. There is no way that Apple would ever be charging me through the nose to change the brake pads. These are commodity items and any half-decent mechanic including myself can change them. The same goes for tyres and wiper blades.
    Apple will be on a huge learning curve. What has worked for their business so far won't work when you get into the Automotive business.

    shaminostevenozdewmebyronlflyingdp
  • Reply 6 of 52
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,756member
    It's funny because when I had a 2005 Scion Xb (Toyota) and tried to book it for service w/ the dealer in 2016, the website warned me it was "too old" and the dealer may not work on it. Sooooo.....so much for this statement. (The dealer did accept the appointment and did work on it, tho).

    As for 40 years...yeah no. If I had a car from 1981 I think all bets for readily available parts are off, and I'd be prepared to work w/ a specialist/collector's mechanic. Now w/ EVs who knows how that will work...but that certainly isn't unique to Apple.
    edited March 11 roundaboutnowWgkruegerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 52
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 862member
    Yes, because Apple knows nothing about long term service and support. 

    In terms of cars, they actually don't.
    Very true. They won't be able to get out of stopping support and spares production after 5 years. Then there is the right to repair. There is no way that Apple would ever be charging me through the nose to change the brake pads. These are commodity items and any half-decent mechanic including myself can change them. The same goes for tyres and wiper blades.
    Apple will be on a huge learning curve. What has worked for their business so far won't work when you get into the Automotive business.

    Indeed - and that's already been displayed with Tesla and their failing eMMC recall, and various parts shortages and long waits for service.

    And (amusingly) it can crop up with some legacy car makers for certain models - Ford ran out of climate control parts for one family of pickups a few years back - during the warranty period.
    tmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 52
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 858member
    Yes, because Apple knows nothing about long term service and support. 

    In terms of cars, they actually don't.

    Furthermore, Mr. Toyoda is not outright pulling a Ballmer here, so the comparison in the article seems to be somewhat unfounded.

    I think the phrase reads like Mr. Toyoda says that Apple cannot simply take the profits of selling the car and pass the duty to support it to a manufacturer as these kinds of things last longer than todays tech companies - on average - even exist.

    It's hard to imagine an Apple from 2021 still supporting a product from the Apple from 2005, but that is exactly what Toyoda is alluding to.

    It seems that todays tech companies are by nature not able to think in such time frames.
    So, you really think Apple hasn't thought about long-term support? 

    Since all of us thought of just this issue off the top of our heads years ago (Toyoda didn't have to tell us that), I'd say it's highly likely Tim Cook et al did also.
    roundaboutnowgilly33byronlbageljoeyflyingdpradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 52
    Yes, because Apple knows nothing about long term service and support. 

    In terms of cars, they actually don't.
    Very true. They won't be able to get out of stopping support and spares production after 5 years. Then there is the right to repair. There is no way that Apple would ever be charging me through the nose to change the brake pads. These are commodity items and any half-decent mechanic including myself can change them. The same goes for tyres and wiper blades.
    Apple will be on a huge learning curve. What has worked for their business so far won't work when you get into the Automotive business.

    I don’t think this is an issue as my guess is they will not be selling cars, they will be selling a service. All maintenance and decisions to take older versions off the road to be recycled are completely within Apple’s capabilities. 
    NumNutstmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 52
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,430member
    It's funny because when I had a 2005 Scion Xb (Toyota) and tried to book it for service w/ the dealer in 2016, the website warned me it was "too old" and the dealer may not work on it. Sooooo.....so much for this statement. (The dealer did accept the appointment and did work on it, tho).

    As for 40 years...yeah no. If I had a car from 1981 I think all bets for readily available parts are off, and I'd be prepared to work w/ a specialist/collector's mechanic. Now w/ EVs who knows how that will work...but that certainly isn't unique to Apple.
    40 years is a bit long, but 10-15 is certainly expected. From a consumer standpoint, owning a car that is out of production can become a nightmare if you need service and parts. If you buy an iPhone and apple goes out of business or quits making them the next year, your worst case scenario is you spend $800 and get a new phone. More likely, it will work fine for 2-3 years until you would have purchased a new one anyway. If you spend $50-75k on a car you may have a 5 year loan and are likely expecting the car to last 10+ years, so it's an entirely different ballgame.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 52
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 744member
    I think Toyota is right. On other side it is important to note that cars produced 20 years and before were much better then those recent full of electronics and parts with calculated lifespan. Ask any service man. Gonna change car but will look for some old solid one even it can have its issues.
    So car industry is coming closer to tech one where things are built mostly to consume not to last. Of course there is power consumption and total cost of ownership that can render older tech unseasonable even still working well. Like fridges.
  • Reply 12 of 52
    There is a way to avoid supporting it for 40 years.
    Don't ever sell the car to anyone. 
    Go with an Uber/lift like business model. A person pays so much per month to have a car available all the time. The car shows up when needed.  After the vehicle has been completely depreciated in a few years, scrap it and put out the new model.
    40 years, yeah right.
    sagan_studentstevenozsportyguy209radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 52
    It's funny because when I had a 2005 Scion Xb (Toyota) and tried to book it for service w/ the dealer in 2016, the website warned me it was "too old" and the dealer may not work on it. Sooooo.....so much for this statement. (The dealer did accept the appointment and did work on it, tho).

    As for 40 years...yeah no. If I had a car from 1981 I think all bets for readily available parts are off, and I'd be prepared to work w/ a specialist/collector's mechanic. Now w/ EVs who knows how that will work...but that certainly isn't unique to Apple.
    Going to a Toyota dealership has nothing to do with Toyota the automobile manufacturer, or any car maker for that matter.  Dealerships aren't owned by car makers and trying to tie your experience with a dealer to Toyoda's statement is an error.  You obviously dealt with either 1) a lazy individual or 2) an inexperienced individual.  Possibly both.  Pretty much any dealership, not just a Toyota seller, but any dealership will work on cars far older than 11 years.  Most, would even work on cars not related to the brands they sell.  

    As for 40 years... yeah but yeah.  Using your example, I went to Toyota Parts and put in 1981 Corolla.  https://parts.toyota.com/Toyota_1981_Corolla.html ; Toyota's are utilitarian every-man vehicles.  Rarely ever would one require a specialist.  
    edited March 11 dewmemuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 52
    gilly33gilly33 Posts: 377member
    Aww oh-oh. Are they getting scared already. Big duh of course a car comes with long term commitment. Guess Apple hasn’t shown long term commitment to their core products. Thanks Toyota. 
    lkruppradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 52
    NumNutsNumNuts Posts: 33member

    I don’t think this is an issue as my guess is they will not be selling cars, they will be selling a service. All maintenance and decisions to take older versions off the road to be recycled are completely within Apple’s capabilities. 
    👆🏼this 

    AND / OR 

    they will offer complimentary mobility products for sale that WILL be much closer to the size and lifespan of their usual products - for example e-scooters. 
    edited March 11 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 52
    macapfelmacapfel Posts: 566member
    I was actually hoping for a yearly upgrade plan. 
    JWSC
  • Reply 17 of 52
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,756member
    Yes, because Apple knows nothing about long term service and support. 

    In terms of cars, they actually don't.
    Very true. They won't be able to get out of stopping support and spares production after 5 years. Then there is the right to repair. There is no way that Apple would ever be charging me through the nose to change the brake pads. These are commodity items and any half-decent mechanic including myself can change them. The same goes for tyres and wiper blades.
    Apple will be on a huge learning curve. What has worked for their business so far won't work when you get into the Automotive business.
    Apple is the only PC company from 45 years ago to still standing -- and not only still standing, but the most successful PC company. And not only the most successful PC company, but the most successful public company in history. If all that proves anything, it's that they know how to adapt. If you're still betting against Apple at this point, dunno what to say, I hope you aren't a betting man.
    tmayroundaboutnowradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 52
    cloudguycloudguy Posts: 323member
    gilly33 said:
    Aww oh-oh. Are they getting scared already. Big duh of course a car comes with long term commitment. Guess Apple hasn’t shown long term commitment to their core products. Thanks Toyota. 
    No, they aren't scared already. Why should they be? Look at Apple's current product line.
    1. PCs: selling them since the 1970s. 8% market share in 2020, usually lower.
    2. smartphones: practically invented the market in 2007. Usually 15% market share.
    3. tablets: again, invented the market in 2010. Usually 35% market share. 
    4. Apple Watch: basically invented the market in 2015, 50% market share.
    5. Apple Music: at best #3 in music streaming to Spotify and YouTube. Tidal, Amazon Music and Pandora are still around.
    6. AirPod. Didn't invent the market  - Samsung did - but despite great mindshare and profit margin but everyone else - Sony, Bose, Anker, JBL, Samsung and a host of others - have had no problems competing and even driving innovation here.

    And those are the successes. Not as successful:
    7. HomePod. Less than 3 million units of the original since 2018, practically no one talks about the Mini.
    8. Apple TV. Apple (again) invented this category in 2007 and are in 4th place behind Roku, Fire TV and the various Android TV devices. The gap between #3 and #4 is so big that they may even be behind smart TV-only platforms like Samsung, LG and Opera. 
    9. Apple Arcade. The last time you heard anyone talking about it was when exactly? If it had a fraction of the regular users that xCloud and Nvidia GeForce Now does we would have heard about it. The last real news from this effort was Apple ending commitments with publishers (fulfilling certain financial obligations but maintaining the exclusivity, preventing the games from ever being released anywhere). 
    10. Apple TV+. Launched 18 months ago and is basically giving it away.

    This "Apple, destroyer of competition" thing isn't true at all. The only place where it has been true is the iPod. And no, it wasn't the iPhone that crushed Blackberry, Nokia, Java JMS and Windows Mobile. If you have 15% market share you can't crush anyone. It is Android and their 85% market share that killed off everyone else. Just like it was Microsoft who crushed everyone else in the PC market (until Google was able to parlay their Android and Chrome browser success into some ChromeOS market share). 


    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 19 of 52
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,756member

    MplsP said:
    It's funny because when I had a 2005 Scion Xb (Toyota) and tried to book it for service w/ the dealer in 2016, the website warned me it was "too old" and the dealer may not work on it. Sooooo.....so much for this statement. (The dealer did accept the appointment and did work on it, tho).

    As for 40 years...yeah no. If I had a car from 1981 I think all bets for readily available parts are off, and I'd be prepared to work w/ a specialist/collector's mechanic. Now w/ EVs who knows how that will work...but that certainly isn't unique to Apple.
    40 years is a bit long, but 10-15 is certainly expected.
    Yeah except this article is about 40 years, because that's what Toyota guy said. I don't know anyone who expects to find readily available parts for a 40-year-old model. But I'm sure every EV maker will figure out what is needed. These aren't Mars landers.
    edited March 11 mark fearingwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 52
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,297member
    ibill said:
    "We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent car. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in."
    That's not what he's saying at all.  In the article he even says, "Anyone can make a car if they have the technical ability".  He saying the tech companies should be prepared for service and support timeframes they may not be used to with their current product life cycles.  
    Yes, because Apple knows nothing about long term service and support. 
    Supporting a phone or computer for 5-10 years is not comparable to supporting something for up to 4 decades.  His caution is about understanding the requirement for a much longer timeframe of support.  
    I believe your point is valid. Coming from working for Honda dealerships across 2 decades I see value in his statement. It is something they need to build into their plan and put aside dedicated funds to support the infrastructure. 
    CloudTalkinwatto_cobra
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