Bodo Uebber, an executive from Daimler, the company behind the likes of Mercedes-Benz, has said that Apple releasing a car has "major potential for growth."
Uebber went on to insist that his company would be "well-positioned" to combat competition from the likes of Apple.
"If there were a rumor that Mercedes or Daimler planned to start building smartphones, then [Apple] would not be sleepless at night. And the same applies to me," said Uebber in an interview. "It shows that the industry has a major growth potential and therefore I'm happy because we're part of the automotive industry."
The comments by Uebber come at a time when carmakers are concerned about the apparent decline in car ownership among young people. This decline is often linked to young people's preference to spend money on things like consumer electronics, of which Apple is at the center. A number of tech companies have begun experimenting with cars. Google, for example, has rather publicly been working on autonomous car technology.
Daimler has been working on autonomous car technology of its own. A Mercedes-Benz truck has been driving by itself along the German autobahn. The truck is known as the FT2025.
"We have autonomous driving," continued Uebber. "We're the frontrunner. In trucks, last year we demonstrated a truck on the highway autonomously driving between Mannheim and Pforzheim. FT2025 demonstrated what we can do in the future."
Apple has reportedly been working on an electric car, likely with autonomous driving features as well. Daimler has been heavily investing in battery technology, largely for its Smart range of cars built for inner city driving. These investments are largely due to pressure from U.S. regulators.
Daimler, however, has really only been incorporating hybrid technology and other innovative power technology into a tiny percentage of its cars, like most other carmakers.
Apple and Daimler aren't strangers. Apple has been working on its in-car infotainment system called CarPlay, which Daimler has been working on integrating into its cars.
Rumors of an Apple car have been swirling for a number of weeks, with Apple having reportedly hired a number of experts in the automotive industry, namely from the likes of Tesla. Apple, however, has remained silent about the rumors, with it being likely that if Apple were to release a car, it would not be before 2020.
Apple releasing a car would be unlike anything the company has done before. Google has also been experimenting with autonomous vehicles.