Apple and BMW Negotiations Stalled Over Personal Data Control

This has been a banner week for Apple Car news, and of course you always hear it first here on Apple Car Fans.

The current story is another leak coming from a German publications, this time Handelsblatt.  Early in the week it was reported by FAZ that Apple had a high level secret car team in Berlin and was working with Magna Steyer on automotive development.

It was understood last year that Apple was in discussions with BMW over the possibility of using the automaker’s infrastructure and engineering to help Apple co-develop their car. Reports at the time mentioned the possibility of using BMW’s i3 as the underpinning platform, and there was evidence Apple executives had visited and held meetings with BMW.

News today has confirmed that these talks have specifically fallen apart, as have talks with Daimler.  The reasons given were two-fold. First the companies could not come to an agreement as to who would lead the project.  The second stickier issue was about which company would be in control of the user data.

Apple wants its car to be deeply integrated into the iCloud and to have full control over the consumer’s data.  BMW and Daimler wanted to keep control of the data themselves.

The report indicates that talks with BMW fell apart last year but that talks with Daimler have just recently fallen apart.

This information makes more poignant the current negotiations Apple is in with Canadian-Austrian firm Magna Steyer.  It also shows how serious Apple is about making sure their car has German engineering at its core.

Source (Handelsblatt)

1 Comment on Apple and BMW Negotiations Stalled Over Personal Data Control

  1. BMW is likely thinking….hmmmm…should we be helping/partnering with this Apple Silicon Valley wanna-be car maker or should we be be throwing Apple under the bus in any way we can? I think Tesla has caused the calculus of that equation to change…

    Mercedes-Benz helped Tesla in a big way during Tesla’s early development stages. Today in the large luxury sedan category Tesla is outselling Mercedes in North America and Western Europe (that stat is not a typo). When Mercedes initially partnered with Tesla, Mercedes had considered it ridiculous and far-fetched that Tesla would evolve into a serious Mercedes competitor; Mercedes had viewed Tesla as a convenient technological bridge-gap aid to Mercedes program of producing Hybrid/EV “compliance” cars…that Tesla would remain a niche low volume consumer product.

    Today in Western Europe Tesla is also outselling Audi large luxury sedans and BMW 7 Series while Tesla continues to grow market share in all of Europe. Tesla will soon be producing the Model 3 (with already 400,000+ deposit reservations in hand many of those European) intended to target the much higher volume mid-level luxury sedan category.

    It’s important to also understand the dynamic that Mercedes, BMW, & Porsche have in the past been supported by a highly nationalistic and proud German populace which support extended even wider to greater Europe after the EU unification. Further, automotive manufacturing directly represents 15% of Germany’s GDP and indirectly is estimated to support 1-in-7 jobs in Germany.

    So BMW witnessing this young punk Tesla Silicone Valley company morph into a serious global automotive competitor threatening BMW in its own home market is a very big deal not only for BMW but for Germany and the greater EU. Tesla is winning many of BMW’s traditional customers because Tesla is perceived to represent leading edge innovation & performance and it appears consumers are willing to jump brands to be a part of what Tesla represents. Perhaps the Apple Car may represent an even larger jump in innovation and performance?

    I bet there are some very interesting conversations about Apple & Tesla going on the boardrooms of Mercedes, BMW, & Porsche.

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