Excitement erupted around the world when U.S. media outlets reported computer colossus Apple is working on an electric car and has lured away former Daimler developer Johann Jungwirth, one of the sharpest minds in the industry.
Usually when Apple announces a new initiative, competitors tremble with fear. This time though, traditional automakers are not reacting to Apple’s big news with horror. They have already glimpsed the future and are racing to meet its challenges.
“Without question, we are embarking on one of the most transformative eras in the history of the auto industry,” said Mark Fields, chief executive of Ford at a recent conference. Innovations developed by car companies will change the world, he added.
The times when it was the production of quality vehicles taking center stage are gone and these days, it’s hard for carmakers to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Instead, they are pushing alternative drivetrains, self-driving cars, smart cars and car-sharing fleets precisely because this is the direction Apple and Google are taking as they eye the automobile arena.