Apple taps ‘Foxconn for cars’ to gain Project Titan expertise

By

Magna International Inc. is making cars for BMW.
Magna International Inc. is making cars for BMW.
Photo: BMW

If Apple ever decides to sell a car it may hire Magna International Inc. to do all the manufacturing.

The Ontario-based company is quickly becoming the Foxconn of car building. And after scoring contracts with VW, BMW and Aston Martin they’re now talking with Apple.

“About a dozen Magna engineers have been working with the iPhone-maker’s team in Sunnyvale to develop a vehicle,” reports Bloomberg, citing a person familiar with the arrangement.

Apple’s Project Titan has hit a number of speed bumps over the past year. Team leader Adam Zedesky left Apple, setting up the return of veteran Bob Mansfield to take the reigns. The team consists of up to 1,000 designers and engineers, but Apple made some recent layoffs in an effort to reboot the project.

Becoming the next Foxconn

“Our business model is to be a one-stop shop — development, design, supply chain all the way through to production,” said Magna’s Guenther Apfalter, who runs contract assembly and European operations.

Magna and BMW announced a new contract today that will see the company build the new BMW 5-Series sedan next year. As a result, Magna’s annual revenue expected to nearly double by 2018, hitting $5.3 billion.

Instead of taking Tesla’s route of manufacturing the car’s in-house, Apple could get to market quicker and avoid bottlenecks in production by tapping into Magna’s know-how. Sourcing 30,000 parts for a car from hundreds of suppliers.

“If you look at the number who’ve tried to do it and miserably fail, this is not an easy industry,” said Magna CEO Don Walker. “There’s a lot of good people out there, but it’s tough to do everything on your own.”