Morgan Stanley analyst: Apple can't ignore the auto market

Morgan Stanley lead auto analyst Adam Jonas appeared on Bloomberg TV on Tuesday.

Matt Miller and Stephanie Ruhle peppered him with questions about the future of mobility, but it got interesting when Ruhle asked if Apple should use its vast pile of cash, which is closing in on $US200 billion, to buy a car company.

“Our opinion is that it’s too big of an addressable market — they can’t ignore it,” Jonas said, discussing Apple’s potential to disrupt the century-old auto industry.

“They can’t just give it to their competitors,” he added. “The car is the ultimate mobile device.”

However, Jonas wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea of Apple buying a car company, which it could easily do, given that its cash hoard is bigger than the market caps of General Motors, Ford, and Tesla — combined.

“What would they get for it?” he asked, clearly of the view that Apple is better off improving the user experience of the automobile, rather than buying a company that builds cars.

The Bloomberg hosts and Jonas didn’t get into the rumoured Apple Car. Obviously, if Apple doesn’t want to buy a car company, it could always go it alone and revamp the design of the automobile according to its own ideas about how it will fit into the mobility world that Jonas predicts, with self-driving cars taking to the streets of major cities in 2-3 years — a very aggressive timetable.

Google has to a degree already headed down this route, creating a test fleet of self-driving podmoblies that is currently navigating the Bay Area.

Jonas is quite comfortable in this highly speculative realm. Among Wall Street auto analysts, he’s staked out by far the most forward-looking position on how we’ll get around in the 21st century and is advising Morgan Stanley’s clients accordingly.

Foxx Google CarGetty ImagesIt can drive itself.

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