VW, Apple To Produce An iCar?
August 30, 2007
German automaker Volkswagen AG and American computer company Apple Inc. are now in talks about the possibility of producing an “iCar” that would feature products from the manufacturer of personal music player.
Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Volkswagen's chief Martin Winterkorn met several days ago in California, and plan to meet for further discussions, said Hans-Gerd Bode, a spokesman for Volkswagen. There are "scores of ideas," but few concrete plans at this point, he added.
Jobs and Winterkorn are supposedly in discussion to build a series of vehicles, reported German magazine Capital. The two industry giants met in California recently, and while the talks are in their early stages, Apple and Volkswagen are reportedly planning to cooperate on developing VW compact cars that will include Apple products, divulged Digital Journal.
The news comes as rival Ford Motor Co. begins to offer the innovative Sync technology in some of its models this fall. The Sync, priced at $395, is a sound-activated technology system that was a joint venture of Ford and Microsoft. The feature enables drivers to use voice recognition or controls on the steering wheel to listen to digital music players and messages on their mobile phones through a computer-based voice.
Experts in the auto industry have estimated that the potential iCar would be of substantial interest to the next-generation drivers – those who are seeking utmost auto entertainment and comfort. Lately, automakers are absorbed in formulating concept cars that dramatically slash harmful emissions without compromising performance and comfort. Aside from enhancing fuel mileage, these cars also equipped with state-of-the-art auto technology and perks. These cars are the road machines of the future.
And Volkswagen is not content with the traditional VW spoilers and other auto parts and would like to add perks to its future lineup by integrating high-end technology and amenities. The German automaker, according to the International Herald Tribune, also has plans to build an affordable compact car with prices starting at €6,000 or US$8,200.
The report about the iCar is not a shock for Apple clientele. As a fact, the computer company has etched a reputation for auto-tech commitment. But the company’s executives are not spilling the beans. Tom Neumyar, the senior manager for iPod and iTunes at Apple, told CNET: “We wouldn't comment on rumors and speculation. No details about the concept car have been released.”
An Apple venture into vehicle manufacturing is nothing new for the computer company. As DailyTech wrote: “Apple currently works with many automakers, including VW, to provide iPod connections as options for new vehicles. Cars with such connections can automatically interface with iPods to play the stored music through the vehicle’s interface and sound system.”
Apple’s Jobs chats with lots of companies about a bunch of ideas. While nothing official was mentioned by VW, it is apparent that Apple continues to be aggressive in looking for business opportunities related to its personal technology products.
Additionally, it was reported by AppleInsider that the computer company also is dabbling with Mercedez-Benz to create a dashboard navigational system for launch in 2009. Further details, such as integration of Google Maps for navigation, are said to be unclear.
It can be recalled that Apple teamed with Mercedes-Benz rival BMW in producing the first seamless integration between iPod and a car audio system. To note, a number of auto giants have offered iPod integration solutions to their clientele. But none of them include navigational or entertainment components from the esteemed computer company. This is why shoppers look forward to the potential partnership of VW and Apple. Such a feature could be had by then.
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