Competitors have a way of panicking when Apple enters their market.
Jean-Claude Biver — head of LVMH's watch group, which makes the well-known Tag Heuer timepieces — infamously said last year that the Apple Watch has "no sex appeal."
He later backtracked.
Last October, the Prime Minister of Finland, home to Nokia, blamed Apple for causing Standard & Poor to downgrade the country's credit rating.
Rumors are now rampant that Apple is building a car. Or something that might have something to do with cars.
At the New York Auto Show this week, we asked a bunch of executives what they think about the Apple Car. Nobody had any idea of what Apple is up to, but the execs were for the most part surprisingly welcoming of the idea — although not without their own opinions.
•Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America
"I take it seriously. Even if it doesn't manifest itself in reality, I think we'd be naive not to. ... At this disruptive time, I think the industry needs to be fully engaged."
•Ian Callum, Design Director, Jaguar
"I think I'll phone up Jony [Ive] and ask if I can help him. I think it will be very exciting and I wish them well."
•Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW North America
"We take competition very seriously we also look at the latest trends and try to get out ahead of upcoming trends to figure out what the consumers are looking for."
•Jose Guerrero, Product Manager, BMW M and BMW i for BMW North America
"In general it's great, because it raises level of innovation in the automotive space."
•Gerry McGovern, Design Director and Chief Creative Officer, Land Rover
"Good luck to them."
•Eric Shepherd, President, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars North America
"I'm not concerned from the Rolls Royce perspective. Now if I was a mass market automotive brand, then yeah, I'd probably say it's something to watch.
•Marek Reichman, Design Director, Aston Martin
"I can't wait, but they are about mass market, and we are about exclusivity."
•John Norman, Principal Designer Acura Interior Styling Manager, Acura
"I think it's incredibly exciting, I love the competition. I love that people are enthusiastic about the car. ... I would love to see how they can bring innovation to the segment. I would love to see the Apple approach. I've spent a lot of time thinking how they would do it."
•Alan Batey, President, General Motors North America
"We need people to challenge the status quo .... We don't need to feel threatened by anyone."
•Mark Fields, CEO, Ford
"You're probably more informed about that than I am."
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