Former GM boss thinks Apple's car ambitions should shift into park

Low profit margins cited as key reason to slam the brakes

Speeding car

In case you haven't heard, Apple may or may not toiling away on a smart electric car - but at least one industry executive thinks it could wind up being a fool's errand, and is offering some free advice on the subject.

Bloomberg today added fuel to ongoing rumors that Apple may be secretly working on its own electric automobile, with a retired industry veteran weighing in on some of the challenges the iPhone maker could face.

Former General Motors Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson cited the "low-margin, heavy-manufacturing" aspect of the auto business as a key reason for Apple shareholders to be wary of such plans, despite a spike in the company's shares yesterday after the news first broke.

"They'd better think carefully if they want to get into the hard-core manufacturing. We take steel, raw steel, and turn it into car. They have no idea what they're getting into if they get into that," Akerson remarked.

Stick to the dashboard

The former CEO sounds envious of Apple's lucrative profit margins after selling 74.5 million iPhones during the last quarter alone, but cautions the company's long-term prospects for success should give shareholders pause.

"A lot of people who don't ever operate in it don't understand and have a tendency to underestimate" the regulatory and safety requirements imposed upon the automotive industry, Akerson added.

Akerson feels Apple would have a far better chance partnering with existing automakers with products like CarPlay, citing infotainment systems as one area the executive would have gladly turned over to Apple during his days at GM.

The 66-year-old GM veteran stepped down from the Detroit automaker last year, but during his four-year tenure, he expanded the company's electric car offerings, while focusing more on in-car technology like wireless broadband.

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