Road to nowhere: Apple car not required

Auto industry executives say Apple and Google can't make it in the auto world. Case closed!


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Forget about an Apple Car, everyone, because it turns out that making a car is difficult and everything is just fine in the car industry so it’s not needed. The Macalope is sure no one will be more relieved than Apple that it can go back to making its little gadgets.

Writing for The Columbus Dispatch, Bree Fowler warns that“Google, Apple face rocky road if they try to become automakers.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody.)

Ah, so it’s nothing but chocolate and more chocolate and marshmallows and no, that’s not what Fowler means. No, what Fowler means is that auto executives are in a phase between “denial” and “anger” called “denger,” in which one angrily expresses one’s denial to the press so the rest of us have something to laughingly quote in 15 years.

(Turns out there are actually 127 stages of grief.)

Silicon Valley might think it can build a better car. But should it?

Wouldn’t we all rather keep driving the same old gas-guzzling murder machines we’ve been driving for years? And it’s not like the auto industry has ever done anything questionable or is anything other than beyond reproach. Please, leave it in the hands of the experts screech of tires, sound of guardrail breaking, mid-air explosion over Disruption Gulch.

As tech giants such as Google and Apple look to autos as the next frontier for innovation, they face a reality: Cars are a lot harder to make and sell than smartphones.

Oh, sure. First of all, they have “things” in them that interact with a series of “wankels” in a rotary fashion that make wheels go around. Surely such technology is impossible to duplicate. You know, other than by the startups that already started up and are actively duplicating them.

If that’s too esoteric to understand, let’s look at a concrete example of one of these barriers to entry into the auto business:

General Motors Co. has had to pay $5.3 billion to cover fines, victim compensation, and the recall of millions of vehicles for faulty ignition switches.

Seriously, liability is the first example. Followed seemingly without irony by this quote:

“I think, like so many Silicon Valley techies, that they believe they are smarter than the world’s automobile business, and that they will do it better,” said Bob Lutz, a retired General Motors vice chairman. “No way.”


OK, look. Wow. Just. OMG.

No one has seen a truly finished product from either Google or Apple. Maybe they’ll drive around with all the accuracy of a meth-addled chihuahua. The point is not that these companies are destined to usher in a new era in glorious driving and ALL HAIL OUR BELOVED TECHNOLOGY OVERLORDS. No, the point is simply that there’s plenty of room for improvement and you should probably not glibly take the word of incumbents that their industry is just fine, thank you.

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