Thierry Viadieu, Renault connected car director, confirmed in a recent interview that his company will still be in the car business a decade from now, but he doesn’t know if companies like Apple or Google will be able to stick around. Viadieu said that the prospects the Apple Car is pushing companies like Renault and others to rush partnerships with Amazon, Microsoft, Accenture, and HP. Companies hope to get in with Apple and Google competitors to assure success.
All of this talk stems from Apple’s pinnacle week full of news. We have heard of a new location in Berlin, along with several high profile hires, and a possible partnership with Magna, after BMW and Daimler have bailed out. Even if other companies or top analysts don’t believe and Apple Car will materialize, it seems many, like Renault, are playing it safe. Viadieu said:
“Underestimating Apple has been proven hazardous to careers.”
Patently Apple interviewed Viadieu about the situation. Here are some of his insights.
Q: What are the main challenges in the move toward connected cars?
A: Keeping the connectivity fresh once we have sold the car. Cars have a product cycle of about five years. Connectivity has a life cycle of about 18 months. We have much longer cycles not because we are dinosaurs, but because of the heavy set of constraints we face in terms of regulations. Customers are already used to frequent automatic updates for their PCs and smartphones. We must head in this direction with connected cars.
Q: What roles will Google and Apple play?
A: That is the question everyone is asking and the possible roles are clearer for Google than for Apple. Google wants to enter the car the same way it got into the smartphone – via the operating system. Their target is to have Android running the car. With Apple it is more complicated to figure out what they are doing. Will they jump into the automotive business themselves or partner with someone? Maybe they could buy Tesla. On one hand they have a lot of money to do so. On the other if they analyze what becoming an automaker means, they will think twice. This business is very tough. Someone said to me recently, in 10 years you will still be in the automotive business for sure. Google and Apple may not be interested anymore.
The question is, which automaker, if any, will let down its guard and team with Apple to negate possible future losses? There is no reason that Renault can’t step forward and challenge Magna or any other prospects. Keep in mind, Viadieu did comment:
“Partnerships are key” for connected car technologies.
The full interview can be accessed here.
Source (Patently Apple)