BMW would be open to collaborating with Apple to build a next-generation car, according to the company’s production chief, Oliver Zipse.
Speaking earlier today in Frankfurt, Zipse noted that “We live in a world of partnerships,” and that an Apple (or even Google) car wouldn’t be out of the question for BMW.
Zipse’s comments are certainly progressive for the auto industry which so far has made the mistake of scorning Silicon Valley’s interests in entering the vehicle market.
“If I were an Apple shareholder, I wouldn’t be very happy,” former GEO Dan Akerson told Bloomberg earlier this year. “I would be highly suspect of the long-term prospect of getting into a low-margin, heavy-manufacturing … A lot of people who don’t ever operate in [the automotive industry] don’t understand and have a tendency to underestimate [it].”
While rumors about an Apple Car have been circulating ever since Steve Jobs was running Apple, they picked up momentum in 2015 after reports that Tim Cook has tapped Apple VP Steve Zadesky to lead a mystery car project called “Titan” with 1,000 employees working on it.
BMW has been very supportive of Apple in the past — even once crediting the company with making the color white cool again. BMW hasn’t been ashamed to take notes from the Apple playbook, either — previously copying the Apple Store’s Genius Bar concept by requiring all authorized BMW dealers to hire tech-savvy employees to answer customer questions, equipped with iPads.
On balance, we’d still rather see an Apple-Tesla collaboration, though.