No. 869
October 19, 2016

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C’est la vie…

Well, well, so it seems that the unquestionably bright and innovative folks that work for Apple out in Sunnyvale and Cupertino have decided that building cars might not be the best thing to be doing with their time.

I don’t suppose there will be any corporate announcement on this from Mr. Tim Cook but, if there was, it would probably say that they have just decided that they were more interested in beating Mr. Musk to Mars or saving the planet from global warming or maybe just getting their favorite politicians elected to public office so they could then go ahead and go do all these great things.

I can’t imagine that it had anything to do with a modern vehicle having millions of lines of code incorporated into them?

Of course, these vehicles also have some of the world’s most advanced propulsion systems, complex hydraulic, electrical and mechanical systems, critical safety systems, infotainment systems, etc., etc. all needing to operate at 100% reliability in harmony for what, fifteen plus years at temperature variants from Arctic freeze to Sahara heat whether the owner decides to change the oil or not. What could go possibly wrong with that?

Then again, maybe this peculiar collection of Midwestern hayseeds, funny little Asian businessmen and stern German engineers who have been the heart and soul of this business for the last five or six decades just might be doing something quite remarkable and right after all? Nah, couldn’t be that!

No irony that the first time I got a moment to read the news about Project Titan being cut back was at the Apple store in Somerset last night while I cooled my heels for two hours while the nice people there got my Apple computer running again.

Seems it “bricked” itself while downloading the newest iOS Sierra operating system on Sunday. At least all my pictures and iTunes are back now. Just happy it wasn’t my Silicon Valley “hi tech” car that conked out while trying to get away from a hurricane.

Troy, Michigan

The "Man of Few Words" File.

The new Audi Q7 resembles an old Dodge Journey. Just sayin'.

Dan Gerard
Berwick, Maine


A giant "We'll See."

Regarding the electrification of the big auto players, what I think a lot of consumers are missing at the moment, is that it wasn't just VW who was playing around with their emissions software to make their vehicles look good. It turns out all of them were doing it. VW just got caught first. Under a study that came out a couple of weeks ago, regulators were shocked, shocked to discover that if you put your foot flat on the pedal and drove aggressively, emissions went up. Even vehicles like Mini's 3-cylinder engine got a ‘D’ when driven under normal urban conditions.

So apart from the EU having to rethink its entire emission testing procedures, this leaves the industry with a big problem. Diesel is now a big no no, as pollution in cities such as Paris have gone through the roof, and people don't like driving flimsy cars (the other way to improve fuel mileage).

Hence the only solution to allow drivers to have ‘fun’ or accelerate fast, is to use some sort of hybrid system in which battery power steps in when real power is needed. So despite all the major players swearing up and down that electric cars are what they are aiming to build, its really more likely hybrids, such as the Audi A3 that we'll see in the showroom.

Paul G.
Silver Spring, Maryland


German Car Company Cost-Cutting.
I am surprised that you mention how difficult it is for German companies to cut their costs. After all, didn't VW hire Jose Ignacio Lopez back in the day for these particular skills? Oops, never mind…

Leslie R.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

On the Q7.

“It costs a lot to be hip these days, especially if it's a crossover with four rings on it.” So true.

My sister-in-law (doctor's wife) talked to me recently about what to get for her next car. The suburban mommy needs a Highlander or a Pilot, but what she wants is a Q7. I will stipulate that Audis have the best all-wheel drive and are great in the snow, especially on hills. However, New Orleans has no snow and no hills, so what is the point of a Q7? I told her to get the MDX (official SUV of the upper middle class) that she doesn't need and at least save $10,000. But what do I know?

John Page
New Orleans, Louisana



Goodnight everybody, thanks for coming!

Of course Apple killed the automobile project. They couldn't stand building anything with Windows.

R. Henry
Thousand Oaks, California