Chinese Automakers Shocked at Apple's Decision to Cancel Car Project

Apple's decision to cancel its electric vehicle project has surprised ambitious new Chinese automakers like Xiaomi, the South China Morning Post reports.

Apple car wheel icon feature triad
Yesterday, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman revealed that after a decade of work and millions of dollars in development costs Apple has canceled its plans to bring an EV to market, moving many of the 2,000 staff working on the project to generative AI instead. The decision has come as a surprise to new tech-focused Chinese EV brands like Xiaomi, Li Auto, and Xpeng, who saw a future Apple car as one of their main rivals.

Xiaomi is one of China's biggest electronics companies and is best known for its line of smartphones. The company unveiled its first EV, the SU7, late last year and it is set to go on sale after further testing. The project required over $1.4 billion in development and over 3,400 engineers.

Founder and chairman Lei Jun today posted on Weibo that he was "very shocked" by the news of Apple's decision to cancel its EV. He added that he "knows deeply how difficult it is to make cars," but Xiaomi has made an "unshakeable strategic choice" to move into EVs. He Xiaopeng, chairman of Chinese EV maker Xpeng, expressed similar disbelief that Apple is abandoning its car plans.

Li Xiang, CEO of Beijing-based EV maker Li Auto, remarked on Weibo that Apple's decision to shift emphasis from EVs to AI was "absolutely right." "AI will become the top-level entrance for all devices, services, applications and transactions, in which Apple should stay on top," he added.

Chinese brands possess a rapidly growing proportion of global EV sales. Last year, China's BYD overtook Tesla as the world's top EV manufacturer.

Top Rated Comments

Naraxus Avatar
7 weeks ago
Why shocked? So they can't steal the design & ip like they steal every other bit of IP from Apple?
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
McWetty Avatar
7 weeks ago
“Shocked”… haha. Because you know, EV.

I’ll see myself out.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mapsdotapp Avatar
7 weeks ago
Apple faked them out with rumors and now they’re left holding the bag on a dead-end product line that a tech company has no business in pursuing. They got Cooked.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Armada2 Avatar
7 weeks ago

Why shocked? So they can't steal the design & ip like they steal every other bit of IP from Apple?
Was about to say that! "Shocked" = 1 less product to copy ?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
erikkfi Avatar
7 weeks ago
I'm disappointed too. I don't really understand why the car has to be autonomous in order for Apple to make it. Another American EV from a company with a CEO who isn't a lunatic jerk would be very welcome.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
deepspacecowboy Avatar
7 weeks ago
The Apple Car never made sense. Cars are low-margin products, something Apple doesn't do. Cars require a lot of service and support infrastructure, all of which Apple would have either needed to build out or acquire by buying an established car company.

And what was Apple really going to bring to the table? Looking at their other product lines, it's clear that the Apple "secret sauce" isn't nearly the differentiator it was in the past. Other companies have largely caught up with Apple. Android phones easily go toe to toe with the iPhone these days, many offering more compelling features. While Vision Pro is certainly stuffed with all sorts of high end components, it's not that much better than a Quest at 1/7th the price. Apple's home audio products are quite boring and basic compared to Sonos and other more thoughtful and comprehensive home audio solutions.

In many ways Apple is coasting these days. Their OSes, ecosystem, and overall user experience are still arguably better than the competition, but Apple products no longer stand head and shoulders above their competitors. I'm glad they realized the car was a fool's errand and stopped burning cash on something that was sure to be nothing more than a money pit for them.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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