Partnership could pave the way for Apple to get its autonomous driving vehicle project off the ground

Apple may be one of the biggest tech companies in the world, but when it comes to building cars, the tech giant knows better than to go at it alone. On the heels of reports that Apple has laid off employees from its autonomous car project, a new report from Bloomberg claims that the company is already collaborating with Magna International Inc. to develop a vehicle that could end up being the Apple Car.

The report does not dive into the details of the partnership, opting only to say that a dozen of Magna’s engineers are working with Apple’s team to develop a vehicle. That’s not much to go by but it does provide a peek into the tech company’s plans for its autonomous driving vehicle in light of concerns that the company’s project wasn’t doing as well as expected.

For those who are not familiar with Magnar, the company is considered as the world’s biggest contract manufacturer for cars. A big part of its business is helping automakers manufacture their vehicles when these brands don’t have the space or time to build them, essentially becoming a one-stop shop for some of the biggest names in the business, including Volkswagen, BMW, and Aston Martin.

The presence of Magnar is a huge boost for Apple’s desire to build its own car, especially with the rise of electric and autonomous driving vehicles and car-sharing services that the tech giant is keen to be a part of. As good as Apple is in developing software and technologies for its consumer electronics products, it’s not as adept at building a car from the ground up. That’s Magnar’s expertise and having them in the fold could pave the way for the tech firm to finally make significant strides in the development of the long-rumored Apple Car.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

The comparisons to Foxconn Technology are right there

You’re probably wondering who Foxconn Technology is, right? Well, if you have an iPhone, Kindle, Xbox, or a Dell laptop, then you should know that only one company manufacturers all of them. Yep. Foxconn Technology. The Taiwan-based company is the world’s biggest contract manufacturer for electronics and if you noticed, there are similarities between Foxconn and Magna International in that a lot of the companies in their respective industries tap them to help manufacture the products that they develop.

That’s why this partnership with Apple and Magna is significant, especially if the tech giant recommits to developing its version of a self-driving car after its recent internal “reboot.” Having Magna in the fold provides Apple with a company whose expertise in developing and manufacturing cars fits right in with its own weakness. If the whole project does get off the ground and shows tremendous promise, look for this partnership to show itself in such a way that Apple will be in charge of developing the software while Magna will take the reigns in manufacturing the actual car.

If the partnership bears fruit, it’s hard to imagine other tech firms not going to Magna to offer a similar partnership. Companies like Google or Uber could also partner with the contract manufacturer and open up a whole new business opportunity for the Ontario-based company. A lot of this is admittedly based on the expectation that the Apple-Magna alliance will bear fruit in the future. But history has painted a good picture about Magna’s influence in the auto industry and there’s no reason why it can’t repeat itself in the tech industry now that some of its biggest names are jumping on board the autonomous driving technology train.

Source: Bloomberg

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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