Asymcar #27


We consider the landscape that Apple’s purported Titan project will address in a few years time.

Horace discusses the pattern of disruption powered by Moore’s law. We turn to the transportation sector and consider the “reimagining” of the car. We further consider scenarios, from sustaining where the current players grow, to new entrant opportunities.

The conversation diverts a bit into the regulatory and taxation regime, specifically US road funding is largely tied to fuel taxes. We note the odd situation where an entry level car driver pays fuel taxes while a luxury Tesla driver does not.

We speculate on Apple’s possible “meaningful contribution” to transportation and the required product, customer experience, sales channel, price and financing options.

Source: Asymcar #27

  • Mark

    Fascinating discussion. But I think we need to ask how a company like Apple that has thrived in large part because the industry moves just fast enough that government regulators are largely baffles as to how to get a piece of the action. As opposed to the transportation industry that government has had their hands in for decades and advocates everything from ineffective or dangerous safety features to engine size to relative efficiency. Not sure electric vehicles solve all r any of that.

    Also not sure about the assumption made about “planned obsolescence”. I think the view it was about durability is a myth. It was always about the perceived obsolescence. Are you really going to endure the humiliation that your neighbor has a newer model, and you know it is because the fe drops are shaped differently. No different that different shaped iPhones people gotta have. Not saying there is anything wrong with any of is, but that it isn’t about the product reliability but abut the humans.

    Quality means different things to different people. I used to be a mechanic and I drive a 13 year old gm car (they mode them until 09) because I think pound for pound there has never been a better car. They reliably hit 300k miles with little maintenance, and they are a rare combination of comfort power and economy. But their appearance won’t impress anyone. Quality is relative. There’s an old joke. So you want a woman that is intelligent beautiful and wealthy? Choose two. You want a solution that is fast cheap and durable? Choose two. Quality is relative. The Cadillac exec mentioned is right. It isn’t about the car at all for most people.

    Like Horace, I’m not discounting apples ability to disrupt the industry. But if they do they are going to have to accept a lot of things they’ve succeeded thus far by ignoring. They’ll have to accept assumptions they don’t believe are true. Features that are pointless they’ll need to champion. Or modularize the car and partner with a car maker.

  • John

    Great discussion. At the end, I had a thought regarding need for showrooms or other new retail spaces for an Apple car. The last time I was at my local Apple Store (Grand Rapids, MI) I noticed that there were three new cars parked in the mall “hallway,” which I had never given much thought to before. They happened to be high-end Volvo SUVs and the new Mercedes crossover. Might not Apple be able to park one or several Apple cars in this same location, where sales associates could come out of the store to assist shoppers in looking at these cars? They could have test drive vehicles parked in the mall parking lot for those interested in driving one. Given how much our malls are already designed around car transportation, this might be one way to leverage even smaller Apple mall stores to sell the Apple car.