Apple Lays Off Hundreds As Car Project Comes to a Close

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

Notoriously tight-lipped Apple never officially confirmed its autonomous car project, but the tech giant has been making an awful lot of moves for not having started work on one. Documents filed with California’s Employment and Development Department show that Apple recently laid off 600 employees in the state, coinciding with reports that it nixed its car project to focus on other products.

The company cited significant business challenges as the reason behind its layoffs. Earlier this year, reports surfaced that the company’s Special Projects Group would be disbanded because Apple couldn’t figure out production and how to integrate the car with its overall catalog of devices and services.

This all comes a decade after Apple car rumors started bubbling up, but the company was known to operate advanced and autonomous test vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area. The project never really gained critical mass within the company, however, and the Special Projects Group underwent reorganizations and layoffs at least a few times over the years.

The car could have represented a significant opportunity for Apple, but the company has had plenty of external case studies from other new and legacy automakers that likely changed its mind. Affordability and manufacturing challenges abound for even the most experienced companies, as Ford and others have gingerly pulled back on the most aggressive investments and electrification plans. Autonomous vehicles are even more challenging, as GM’s Cruise has proved with much press over the last year.

[Image: TonyV3112 via Shutterstock]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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2 of 15 comments
  • Scott Scott on Apr 09, 2024

    Apple is a software company, Auto makers aren't. If Apple hasn't developed a solid core of a marketable system then they deserve to fail.

    Long term, Apple has to worry about the China market moving to local phones. That would change APPLE to apple overnight.

  • Cprescott Cprescott on Apr 09, 2024

    The Fruit company found out that people won't pay extra for the 4th wheel.

  • NJRide So this is an average age of car to be junked now and of course this is a lower end (and now semi-orphaned) product. But street examples seem to still be worth 2500? So are cars getting junked only coming in because of a traumatic repair? If not it seems a lot of cars being junked that would still possibly worth more than scrap.Also Murilee I remember your Taurus article way back what is the king of the junkyard in 2024?
  • AMcA I applaud Toyota for getting away from the TRD performance name. TuRD. This is another great example of "if they'd just thought to preview the name with a 13 year old boy."
  • Jeff Does this really surprise anyone? How about the shoes and the clothes you wear. Anything you can think of that is either directly made in China or has components made in China likely has some slave labor involved. The very smart phone, tablet, and laptop you are using probably has some component in it that is either mined or made by slave labor. Not endorsing slave labor just trying to be real.
  • Jeff Self-driving is still a far ways from being perfected. I would say at the present time if my car took over if I had a bad day I would have a much worse day. Would be better to get an Uber
  • 2manyvettes Time for me to take my 79 Corvette coupe out of the garage and drive if to foil the forces of evil. As long as I can get the 8 track player working...