Electronics Production | September 13, 2007
Apple/Volkswagen "iCar" faces<br>a slew of challenges
Pods are virtually everywhere these days—except in your car. However, Apple Inc. and Volkswagen AG have been talking recently, possibly discussing an alliance toproduce an automobile that integrates iPod capability: the much talked-about “iCar."
While there appears to be strong consumer desire for an iCar, the potential Apple/Volkswagen collaboration faces a set of daunting challenges, and is not likely to yield an actual automobile for three or four years, iSuppli Corp. believes. Speculation about the iCar was spurred by a recent meeting between Apple head Steve Jobs and Martin Winterkorn, chief executive of German automaker Volkswagen. However, it's unknown whether they actually discussed an iCar, or if it was merely a conversation regarding cross-functional leverage opportunities for each company. If the conversation did concern an iCar, then each company potentially could benefit enormously. For Apple, it represents a chance to extend the iPod ecosystem into the automotive realm. On the Volkswagen side, the iCar promises to be a hot seller. A Google search of the phrase “VW + iCar" yielded more than 2 million entries. Even the rumors of the iCar have generated significant caché for Volkswagen—so imagine the amount of interest that will be spurred by an actual product introduction. With the total automotive infotainment segment set to break through the $50 billion mark in 2012, the car remains a very large—and largely untapped—captive market. Car production is rising at a steady 3 percent rate, but the automotive infotainment market will expand much more quickly, rising at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8 percent from 2006 to 2013. Consumer demand is strong for automotive electronics that entertain and inform. The attached figure presents iSuppli's forecast of global automotive infotainment electronics revenue for the period from 2006 to 2013. A major challenge to the success of a potential Apple/Volkswagen iCar collaboration would be the vastly different cultures of the two corporations. “Although the old cliché says 'opposites attract,' the cultural divide between Apple and Volkswagen may be too wide to bridge," said Richard Robinson, principal analyst, automotive electronics, for iSuppli. “Apple is a highly innovative and dynamic consumer electronics company that generates significant profits from living off its wits and supplying niche markets with the next big thing in music players, mobile phones and personal computers. VW, on the other hand, is from an entirely different tradition: the more conservative world of automotive, with its solid four-to five-year development cycles, tight margins and production-standard compliance requirements that would bring even the most enthusiastic designer from Cupertino to his knees." Volkswagen is not unusual in its conservatism; automakers have a generally cautious approach to design and development—a philosophy forged in the fire of a thousand product recalls. With rising electronics, silicon and software content in vehicles, all of which can fail at any time, the automakers probably are justified in maintaining their cautious stance regarding new technology offerings. “Thus, vehicle manufacturers are not interested in the next big thing and instead are focused on producing solid, tried and tested products that will be reliable for years," Robinson said. “While consumer-electronics warranty returns might eat into a company's profits, automotive recalls are the stuff of nightmares in a car industry that operates at the very margins of profitability." This wide variation in business philosophies and dynamics could have major negative repercussions for the iCar. “If your iPod fails, it's your problem, and you must shell out a meager $120 to buy a new one—which is okay because you probably wanted to get the latest model anyway," Robinson observed. “However, if your two-year-old car's built-in infotainment system fails while driving in 20-below temperatures on an Alaskan highway, it's not your problem—it's a problem for the company that sold you the car and it must bankroll the repairs. Automakers must bear this responsibility throughout a car's entire warranty period, which typically lasts three to five years." While it's in the consumers' interest that popular devices such as the iPod and iPhone get integrated into their cars' automotive infotainment systems, the cultural shock of a consumer-electronics company being forced to support products for up to 10 years after start of manufacturing will probably be the undoing of the idea, Robinson opined. “While Volkswagen would expect a car manufactured in 2007 to be perfectly serviceable 10 year later, does anyone seriously think the current iPod and iPhone ranges will be anything more than museum relics a decade from now?" If indeed Apple and Volkswagen do team on an iCar, either a VW or another company brand like Audi, Bentley and Bugatti, don't expect to see it this year—or even next year. “Based on standard automotive industry practice, even if Apple and VW press the 'Go' button today, it is highly unlikely that we would see the first iCars until at least 2010 or 2011," Robinson predicted.
Construction starts at Kyungshin new factory in Serbia The South Korean automotive company has initiated the construction of its new facility in the municipality of Smederevska Palanka in Serbia – once completed 700 new jobs will be created.
Manz: Erfolgreicher Produktionsstart bei Displayproduzent in China The Reutlingen-based engineering company Manz AG is further expanding its business in the contract manufacturing segment at its locations in Slovakia and China.
Celestica to manufacture ventilators for the Canadian market EMS provider Celestica has won a program to build 7,500 ventilators for StarFish Medical Inc., a Canadian medical device company, at Celestica’s operation in Newmarket, Ontario.
Ouman Estonia starts an expansion project Despite the current uncertain economical environment, Ouman says it believes in a brighter future and that the company is proud of the performance in its factories.
Reshaping production post COVID-19 As manufacturers re-open after COVID-19 related lockdowns, economic and supply chain disruptions may be felt beyond 2020. How companies shift in the short-term and plan for the long-term will be factors in defining “new normal” for the component industry.
Swedish EG Electronics acquires WEAB EG Electronics AB, a KAMIC Group company, has acquired all the shares in WEAB, Wermlands Elektronik AB.
ZF completes its acquisition of WABCO ZF Friedrichshafen AG has successfully completed the acquisition of commercial vehicle technology supplier WABCO, having gained approval from all required regulatory authorities.
Romanian EMS provider expands as it relocates Romanian EMS-Electra has successfully finalised the process of relocating to a new building, in the industrial area of Iasi, Romania.
Circuit Check partners with major healthcare company to build ventilators In early March, when a long-standing customer to the company, a major healthcare company approached Circuit Check to partner together to build over a dozen tests systems to assist in the COVID-19 efforts, Circuit Check responded quickly to the challenge.
TI maintains firm grip as world's top analog IC supplier TI's 2019 analog marketshare grew to 19% and ST climbed to fourth place as the top-10 suppliers collectively accounted for 62% of total analog sales.
Big Ass Fans adds third Hentec/RPS machine Complementing the purchase of two Hentec Industries/RPS Automation Vector 300 selective soldering machines in 2018, Big Ass Fans (BAF), a high-volume, low- speed (HVLS) airflow manufacturer, has just added a third machine to its factory in Newman Lake, Washington.
CE3 Electronics Inc. taps MIRTEC for 3D AOI technology Canada-based CE3 Electronics has purchased a MIRTEC MV-6 OMNI 3D AOI machine.
Gémosz is still looking to grow – but the pandemic brought new perspectives Winston Churchill famously said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. While this was said in a vastly different context than the current crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still truth to the fact that a crisis not only allows for change – but sometimes forces it.
North American PCB industry sales up 4.3% in April The IPC says that total North American PCB shipments in April 2020 were up 4.3% compared to the same month last year. Compared to the preceding month, April shipments fell 18.2%.
Volkswagen intensifies e-mobility activities in China Volkswagen has initiated the next chapter for its business in China. The automotive giant plans to increase its share in JAC Volkswagen, its joint venture for e-mobility.
GPV Selects Aegis as global smart factory partner Driven originally by accelerating customer expectations for traceability, GPV has selected Aegis’ FactoryLogix Smart digital manufacturing solution, targeting multiple values and benefits.
REDCOM EMS expands certification for medical device manufacturing New York-based REDCOM EMS has secured ISO 13485:2016 certification, complementing the company’s existing ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certifications.
Ozark Integrated Circuits nabs U.S. Air Force grant Arkansas-based Ozark Integrated Circuits Inc., located in the Arkansas Research and Technology Park at the University of Arkansas, has received a USD 750,000 award from the U.S. Air Force.
Norwegian EMS adds employees to Polish unit The last couple of months Norautron has welcomed three new colleagues at its office in Sdunska Wola, Poland.
Daimler’s battery production in Kamenz gradually increases production Local battery production is described as an important success factor for Mercedes-Benz AG’s electric offensive and a key element to flexibly and efficiently meet the global demand for electrified vehicles.
Tepcomp invests in new additional production line Finnish EMS provider, Tepcomp Group, has made a significant investment at its production plant in Turku. The new surface mount technology production line will significantly improve the productivity and energy efficiency of the plant.
Valoe is on schedule with both production and expected deliveries Valoe says it will start manufacturing IBC test modules in Juva, Finland in June and cell deliveries from Lithuania to customers is scheduled to start according to plan.
AMTE Power and Britishvolt sign MoU for GigaFactory AMTE Power and Britishvolt plans to investigate collaborating to build the UK’s first full cycle battery cell GigaPlant, servicing the automotive and energy storage markets.
ALLPCB’s new SMT factory has launched production On May 10 2020, ALLPCB’s new – self-operated – SMT factory in Guangde, Anhui Province, China was officially put into production.Load more news
- Raspberry Pi audio HAT board with MERUS class D multilevel amplifier
- Romanian EMS provider expands as it relocates
- ASML ships first-generation multibeam inspection system ‘eScan1000’
- Gémosz is still looking to grow – but the pandemic brought new perspectives
- North American PCB industry sales up 4.3% in April