Speculation continues on “Project Titan,” otherwise known as the Apple car. Despite Apple’s continued silence on the project, and the departure of its team leader, there’s still a very good chance Apple will release a car in the next few years, according to one analyst who follows the company.
The Apple car will likely appear in 2019 or 2020, and go on sale in 2021 priced around $75,000, Apple financial analyst Gene Munster said in a recent interview with Apple Car Fans. That would put the Apple car in the same league as the Tesla Model S, an appropriate comparison because Apple’s first production vehicle is widely expected to be electric.
The departure of project leader Steve Zadesky won’t blunt Apple’s progress, Munster said. He and his firm, Piper Jaffray, believe Apple still has a “sizable team” working on the car project. He said there is a “greater than 50-percent chance” Apple will go ahead with the project, noting that even if Apple is working on a car, it doesn’t necessarily mean that product will make it to consumers, and that a car is a major step in a new direction for the company.
Apple could show the car in 2019 or 2020 (echoing a previous report) and begin taking orders, but not start production until 2021, Munster said. The early showing would build anticipation for the car, a tactic Tesla and other car makers use to generate interest for their new models. The estimated $75,000 price comes from Apple’s tendency to play toward the high end of the markets it enters, and would make the Apple car a relatively low-volume item.
While Apple will likely micromanage the design, there is also an “80-percent” chance the company will outsource production Munster said. Apple already outsources production of its phones, so it makes sense for it to do the same with a complex product it has no experience manufacturing. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne recently said he would be open to a partnership with Apple.
And while carmakers love to introduce a wide array or variants and trim levels for each model they make, Apple will stick with one car line, according to Munster. Whether that will include room for options like multiple battery pack sizes, a la Tesla, is unclear, but for the time being a single Apple car will probably be remarkable enough anyway.