Apple should listen.
Tech giant Apple has caught the auto industry's attention over the past several weeks following reports it nearly struck a deal with Hyundai Motor Group to build the long-awaited Apple car. The South Korean automaker opted out because it did not want to become the manufacturer for a potential rival. Apple then approached Nissan but the Japanese carmaker also walked away.
Apple has not given up on its automotive dreams and last we heard it was in talks with auto parts supplier Magna, which will build the upcoming Fisker Ocean EV, about a possible deal. Apple does not manufacture its own hardware devices either but rather farms that task out to firms like Foxconn.
The smartphone business is very different from the auto business, and Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda wants Apple to know that beforehand. Per Bloomberg, Toyoda made clear he always welcomes new competition, but also warned Apple his industry is not easy.
"After making a vehicle, I'd like them to be prepared to deal with customers and various changes for some 40 years," he said at a Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association news conference. Toyoda joins a growing list of experienced industry executives speaking their minds about Apple's automotive intentions. Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said he was not afraid of Apple and BMW's chief financial officer admitted he sleeps peacefully at night despite the potential new threat.
This is not the first time, however, that Toyoda, the grandson of the company's founder, has spoken his mind about rivals. He previously said Tesla is not making "real products" despite the California automaker overtaking Toyota as the world's most valuable automaker. Unlike Tesla and Apple, Toyota has the experience of making over 100 million vehicles over the decades.
Last December, Toyoda expressed his disdain for EVs in general, believing they will ruin businesses, require massive infrastructure investments, and emit even more carbon dioxide than combustion-engined vehicles. He was especially critical of the Japanese government's potential ban of new combustion vehicles by 2030.