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End of an Apple Vehicle? Strategic Vision calls Shenanigans


A futuristic vehicle with an Apple Logo

The reports of the death of Project Titan, Apple's long-rumored secret project to create a revolutionary mobility solution, may be exaggerated. While the hypothetical fully autonomous electric vehicle that seats six may indeed be dead, the idea of Apple designing some form of personal electric mobility strongly appeals to US customers. Considering the billions of dollars already invested and intense consumer interest, the narrative of altogether abandoning a mobility solution is difficult to believe. If true, doing so would be short-sighted, particularly in the context of the projected impact on the US electric vehicle market.


Consumer expectations and brand loyalty are formidable forces. According to more than half a million new vehicle buyers from 2022 – 2024 in Strategic Vision’s (SV) New Vehicle Experience Study (NVES), 19% of all new vehicle owners would embrace an Apple vehicle, giving even a hypothetical vehicle the highest quality rating of 'I Love It,' outperforming stalwarts like Honda, Toyota and even Tesla. This high regard speaks volumes about the public's trust in Apple's potential automotive quality, which is an asset that is hard-earned and even harder to replicate. For newer entrants into the EV space, like Dodge, this same uphill battle remains steep. Only 3% of new vehicle buyers express the same level of adoration for potential Dodge-branded EVs.


Equally impressive is that 22% of consumers also said they would Definitely Consider an Apple-branded vehicle. This is remarkable compared to established brands with a strong reputation for quality, such as Honda (33%). Even Tesla, a revolutionary name in the EV landscape, trails slightly behind Apple in definite future consideration. Lucid, another player in the EV-exclusive segment, garners a mere 2% in this category. This suggests that Apple’s entry into the market could catalyze a significant shift in consumer preferences. While there may be limited interest in EVs in general, high interest in an Apple EV would kickstart the conversation.


Apple’s brand influence becomes even more evident in emerging markets. For instance, African American consumers exhibit a 28% 'Love' rating for Apple’s quality and a 30% definitive future consideration, outpacing the general market. This indicates the profound resonance Apple’s brand has across diverse demographics, which can be pivotal in driving the adoption of EV technology.


Acknowledging the legitimate reasons Apple may have abandoned making a vehicle is important. Extending its CarPlay technology to ubiquity in the automotive industry is a more lucrative play compared to the fiercely competitive vehicle manufacturing sector. Additionally, the heightened investor fascination with generative AI may shift Apple's focus to that space rather than the lower margins associated with vehicle production.

Yet, this strategic crossroads should not eclipse the potential of what Apple’s entry could do to a flattening EV market. We see a path to potentially doubling EV sales in the U.S. simply by Apple introducing its own vehicle, transforming the automotive landscape.


Project Titan may be dead, but counting Apple out of the EV automotive space entirely is premature. The allure of Apple’s brand influence, coupled with an evolving market hungry for tech-friendly EV options, makes a compelling case for Apple to produce a vehicle. Apple has consistently redefined market expectations and consumer experiences, and within this legacy, the vision of an Apple EV finds its credibility and, perhaps, its inevitability.


The scores below show consumer expectations of a hypothetical Apple vehicle compared to those of established manufacturers.


Your Impression of Quality


Apple

Tesla

Dodge

Honda

Lucid

I Love It

19%

10%

3%

14%

2%

Delightful

6%

8%

2%

9%

3%

Excellent

19%

21%

9%

34%

9%

Satisfactory

32%

35%

45%

34%

46%

Unsatisfactory

13%

14%

26%

5%

24%

A Failure

3%

3%

6%

1%

4%

I Hate it

8%

9%

9%

3%

10%

Future Consideration of Brand


Apple

Tesla

Dodge

Honda

Lucid

Definitely Consider

22%

19%

9%

33%

3%

Might Consider

14%

31%

25%

36%

9%

Would Not Consider

31%

43%

59%

27%

47%

Don't Know Enough About

33%

7%

27%

4%

40%

Data from Strategic Vision's New Vehicle Experience Study (2022 – 2024)

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