Is your car iOS or Android? Which Tech Giant x OEM collab reigns supreme?
Hyundai x Apple / Ford x Google: these are the Louis Vuitton x Supreme collaboration of the car and technology world. I’m here to breakdown what these collaborations mean and what you should get excited about.
Car manufacturer and tech giant partnerships excite me a lot. Cars are extremely complex products — by leveraging the OEM’s core competency of established quality in vehicle design, engineering and supply chain with the core competencies of tech giants in UI/UX, AI, and connectivity we are closer than ever to a genuinely great product. I think this the fastest way to a durable, seamless, cheap, good quality, smart car is this level of collaboration. Now they just have to partner with battery pack makers and we are in the golden era.
Hyundai x Apple
Yes I know, this isn’t official and even retracted, but even the announcement of this possible partnership has ramifications. More specifically, it highlights some of the challenges between a tech giant and an OEM.
Hyundai Motors executives are reported to have divergent opinions on whether this collaboration would be strategically beneficial. Tech giants are so big and have so much economic power (as we’ve seen during the pandemic) that any collaborator will have to forgo some control to maintain the partnership. Hyundai is South Korea’s second largest conglomerate and keeps their supply chain very close — they are not a company that wants to let go of control. I think this power struggle will be an issue with Apple because they are a brand focused company. Apple wants to put out an Apple car, not an Apple platform Hyundai car.
That being said, Apple does not want to absorb the financial burden of making a car, which usually takes a few billion dollars. The new announcement of the Google x Ford partnership pushes Apple into a position where they have to make a decision quickly on who to partner with and how much control they are willing to let go of. The more they want to control their brand, the less OEMs will be open to partnering because designing and building cars are a business of scale and the Apple disruption might just be too much. Another option Apple has is to acquire one of the many electric vehicles start ups to gain vehicle manufacturing capabilities while maintaining full brand control.
Ford x Google
Ford and Google announced their partnership today, and to me, this makes so much sense. I wrote about the automotive software industry yesterday so this news could not come at a better time. Google doesn’t want to make a Google car. They’re happy to plug their platform and develop connectivity technology with the OEM and collect data. Google has the most powerful AI technology in the world, they have the capabilities of cloud computing, seamless connectivity and of course maps and Waymo. Ford’s current fleet of vehicles give Google a fast track to consumer data, mapping data and driving data, then combined with Google’s computation abilities may get them ahead in the autonomous driving race.
I wondered for a while why Google decided to partner with Ford — Google definitely has the negotiation power. I would assume if they wanted mass consumer data, they would have approached Toyota or Honda. I can only speculate that Google is looking to partner with cities in the future. In order to test smart city connectivity and autonomous driving and have cities provide data to Google, the respective vehicle partner would also probably have to be American.
Regardless, I am excited for the future of this Google x Ford collaboration and I’m also curious to see how Apple responds.