Renault-Nissan boss sees Google and Apple as ‘allies’ in boosting driverless car uptake

Renault-Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn has downplayed the impact Apple entering the car-making world would have, saying it was “good news” for the business as consumers become better aware of future options.

Last month, it was revealed Apple had ambitions to enter the car-making space with a car design that “resembles a minivan”. It has not yet confirmed an Apple Car will launch, but it would follow in the footsteps of major rival Google which has been developing driverless car prototypes for the past few years.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress today (2 March) Ghosn said it considered the pair to be “allies” rather than competitors.

“It’s not about who’s going to have the bigger share of the entry market. It’s about how the companies join in promoting the electric cars,” he said. “They are making them much more credible and they are pushing consumers to consider electric vehicles much more seriously, showing the consumer that there is an alternative for the future.”

He claimed Renault-Nissan was “leading the pack” as the biggest producer of electric cars and as it continues to develop this technology for autonomous vehicles he said there will be “a convergence of interests” with Apple and Google.

“The potential of the electric car market is much bigger than what you’re going to lose to competition,” he added.

Nodding to why he might hold this view, Ghosn predicted a battle among car makers to partner with the technology companies powering the software in driverless cars, naming Apple, Google, Microsoft as examples.

“You’re going to have a game of alliances in order to make the most advanced technology,” he said.

To put itself in a better position to forge partnerships Renault-Nissan is in the process of establishing offices in Silicon Valley “to be sure we are surveying what start-ups are working on,” he said.

“There are still a lot of unknowns around the technology and we can’t solve the problems ourselves. There’s big opportunities for start-ups […] Silicon Valley is a privileged place so that is where we are making most of the investment.”

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