Toyota’s President Akio Toyoda has chimed in on the possibility of an Apple car, saying the automotive industry welcomes new players with “the potential to breathe [fresh] life into the auto industry and give customers a wider range of choices.”
However, he threw minor shade at new arrivals like the Cupertino tech giant, noting how much more experienced Toyota is. “After making a vehicle, I’d like them to be prepared to deal with customers and various changes for some 40 years,” Toyoda said during a Thursday press conference by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
Toyota is the largest automobile manufacturer in the world based on unit sales. However, its market cap is significantly smaller than Apple’s. It currently sits at $210 billion, as compared to Apple’s $2 trillion valuation.
Toyoda previously sounded dismissive of tech companies getting into the automotive industry. Notably, in November 2020, Toyoda said Tesla isn’t making “real products.” Tesla last year overtook Toyota in terms of market value.
Auto execs talk Apple car
Toyoda is far from the first car company exec to speak up about the prospect of an Apple car. In February, Volkswagen chief exec Herbert Diess said, “The car industry is not a typical tech sector that you could take over at a single stroke. Apple will not manage that overnight.”
Meanwhile, BMW’s CFO Nicholas Peter recently said he is not worried about Apple’s entry into the automotive industry. “I sleep very peacefully,” Peter said. “Competition is a wonderful thing — it helps motivate the others. We’re in a very strong position and we want to remain in a leading position of the industry.”
There is no word yet on exactly what form an Apple car will ultimately take, or when it will ship. The latest reports suggest Cupertino might call a contract manufacturer — but not an established car company — into service to help it build an Apple car. Talks with both Hyundai and Nissan reportedly broke down recently.