The rumors swirling around Apple’s possible entry in the automotive industry just got another entry to keep them moving: the tech behemoth has hired former Fiat Chrysler executive Doug Betts.
Betts abruptly left FCA last year to “pursue other opportunities.” If his LinkedIn profile is to be believed, he’s landed in Cupertino, California, at Apple. His current job is listed as “Operations – Apple Inc.,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Long-rumored to be producing an electric vehicle, Apple has been hiring hundreds of engineers, designers and other auto experts to oversee the EV project, which is code-named Titan.
Betts is a 25-year industry veteran having spent time at Toyota, Nissan and Fiat Chrysler. Apple, which rarely says anything about its projects, when one of its executives this spring noted that developing a car would be the “ultimate mobile device.”
In addition to Betts, Apple recently recruited a leading autonomous-car researcher in Europe and is building a team to work on those systems, the Journal reported. Betts didn’t exactly leave on a golden chariot.
(FCA’s Marchionne talks to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. For more, Click Here.)
FCA announced his departure one day after Consumer Reports released a study showing the reliability of each of Fiat Chrysler’s brands have declined. Under Betts, Chrysler’s the quality and reliability of the automaker’s cars and trucks improved, including coming out on top of Strategic Initiatives Total Quality Index. However, FCA typically ranks near the bottom of industry studies.
(Click Here for details about Betts departure from Fiat Chrysler.)
According to Bloomberg News, Apple is pushing a team of engineers and designers to begin production of an electric vehicle as early as 2020. When FCA Chief Sergio Marchionne met with Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier this year, it sparked rumors that the companies might pair up.
(To see what propelled Fiat Chrysler to the top in total quality awards, Click Here.)
Marchionne has been looking for partners to help share development costs and Apple, which its big checkbook and work already done on its EV, could help the maker bolster its battery-powered vehicle program.