Google has been openly testing out its self-driving car, while Apple is doing everything it can to maintain secrecy around the so-called Apple car. The entry of tech giants could pose a serious threat to the established automakers. However, many auto industry executives – including former GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz – have scoffed at the idea that tech companies could become serious players in the auto business.

Apple Car Concept
Image Credit: Automobile Italia/Flickr

Half of survey participants interested in buying cars from tech companies

A consumer survey conducted by TECHnalysis Research (via Fast Company) shows that established automakers should start fearing competition from the likes of Apple and Google. Neither of the Silicon Valley heavyweights has officially committed to manufacturing or selling cars yet. TECHnalysis surveyed 1,000 American consumers who owned a car and were planning to buy a new one within the next two years.

They asked consumers how interested they were in purchasing a car from Apple, Google or another tech company. Surprisingly, half of the survey participants said they would at least moderately consider purchasing an Apple car, Google car, or a car from another tech company. Among those interested in Apple- and Google-branded cars, about 33% people would seriously consider buying them.

Consumers more interested in Google car than an Apple car

Of course, it was a hypothetical question as there is no Apple car or Google car available in the market. Real cars, real features, and real prices could alter consumer interest. Another interesting thing is that despite all the hype and speculations regarding the Apple car, consumers were more interested in buying a Google car. To be precise, 59% survey respondents expressed moderate interest in a Google car compared to 52% for the Apple car.

It could be because of two reasons. One, Google already has a self-driving car on the road for testing but an Apple car is nowhere in the public view. In fact, we don’t even know whether there is a fully functioning prototype of an Apple car. The second reason could be that consumers expect an Apple car to be much more costly than a Google vehicle.

It does show that if tech companies enter the automobile market with branded cars, they could have a significant impact on the industry.