NEW YORK (TheStreet) –– Apple (AAPL - Get Report) is interested in more than just smartphones, tablets and smartwatches -- the world's largest tech company reportedly has now its sights set on the auto industry.
Both The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times reported Apple is working on an electric vehicle project, code-named Titan. The reports -- which both noted that Apple may not ultimately release new products based on the Titan research -- expanded the oft-mentioned rumor of the company working on a car. Last year, Tesla (TSLA - Get Report) CEO Elon Musk was reported to have met with Apple's head of mergers and acquisitions, Adrian Perica. Musk admitted he did talk to Apple, but noted it was "very unlikely" Tesla would sell itself to Apple, as Tesla tries to bring the Model 3, its mass-market car, to consumers.
The Journal noted that Apple is indeed going after the electric-car market, which would place it firmly in competition with Tesla and other automakers, including General Motors (GM - Get Report) , which recently confirmed its next mass-market EV, the Chevy Bolt, would be ready for 2017 or 2018.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White said he believes a move into vehicles makes sense for Apple, particularly as electronic shows like CES become more like car shows. "Apple already has its hand in the auto market with CarPlay that the company describes as "the best iPhone experience on four wheels" and includes over 30 automobile partners," White wrote in a research note.
Given the enormous market for car sales not only in the U.S., but abroad as well -- research firm IHS expects 88.6 million vehicles to be sold in 2015 around the globe -- the opportunities for additional revenue are enormous for Apple, even if it limits itself to the burgeoning electric-vehicle market.
We want to know. Would you buy an Apple Car, a Tesla Model S, Chevy Bolt or none of the above? Vote in our poll. Results will be released Thursday afternoon.
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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