Who will manufacture the Apple car? Not BMW or Daimler anyway

25 Apr 2016

While Apple appears to be counting on Europe as the place to build its mysterious Apple car, the company’s insistence on the car’s data being uploaded to iCloud has seen BMW and Daimler drop out of the race to build it.

The Apple car remains one of the company’s most closely-guarded secrets, despite snippets of information trickling out from time to time.

In this case, the German newspaper Handelsblatt has discovered that Apple and Tim Cook have been exploring the wealth of options within the German auto manufacturing industry, having already established an office in Berlin to develop the car.

The two manufacturers that Apple had largely been in progressed discussions with were producers of the more luxurious brand of cars, BMW and Daimler, but these have now fallen to the wayside due to the issue of data control.

With a number of onboard systems likely planned to be installed within an Apple car, the data generated within it is expected to be a treasure-trove for both tech companies and auto manufacturers, and the tug of war between the two has proven too much for the deal to happen.

Issues over iCloud

In this particular case, Apple has been insisting that the information it generates will be stored only on the iCloud, thereby conflicting with BMW and Daimler’s assurance that data produced by its customers is not to be shared with anyone else.

According to those familiar with the discussion, the potential deal with BMW collapsed towards the end of last year, while talks with Daimler are believed to have fallen apart much more recently.

With little progress being made in Germany, reports suggest Apple is now looking to Germany’s neighbours for solutions, the most likely of which appears to be in Austria, with the company Magna.

Given that Magna is not developing its own cars, rather describing itself as a contract manufacturer, this type of deal would likely suit Apple considerably more given that it will have substantial creative control over what goes into its design.

Car production line image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic