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Only the Affluent Can Afford Electric Cars Today, and One in Five Would Buy Car from Apple – Yes That Apple (AAPL)

By • Jan 30th, 2009 • Category: Clean Car Talk Posts, Mercedes-benz

A new study indicated, among other trends, that 21% of Europeans said they would buy a car from Apple, while 48% would buy a car from BMW.

Okay now let’s put things in context. According to a BusinessWeek article “Luxury Buyers Ready for E-Cars, Bain Says” posted by Jack Ewing on January 27, 2009, the survey by consultant Bain & Co. of Munich, Germany included 4,000 people from eight countries, including the U.S., China, Japan and Germany. General finding is that high-income buyers are ready to buy electric cars as a second vehicle. Now this is no surprise since affluent buyers don’t need basic transportation and can afford a second car, be it a Ferrari or a Tesla. What’s more interesting though is the fact that those surveyed said they are ready to buy electric cars.

Red Tesla RoadsterIt is Tesla’s strategy to build an electric car for the high-end market first. Then with experience and volume, roll out more affordable sedans for the mass. It makes a lot of sense for a company which has not produced an automobile before. But what does this really do to the industry?

According to the article, the study seems to indicate a major shift in traditional car manufacturers mentality that actually forces them to go slowly with new electric-powered vehicles. This is because as the internal combustion engines, transmissions and other conventional fossil fuel-related components are removed from the automobiles, as in the case of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars, the less there is to differentiate between car brands. As Mr. Ewing wrote, “Electric motors are much less complicated to build than internal combustion engines and require only a simple gearbox … The qualities that have sold BMWs, Lexus and Mercedes won’t be as unique anymore.”

What’s left is unique design, which can still give you a strong competitive edge. This means we’ll probably see more collaborations between car manufacturers and non-automobile companies in the future. And when you have the Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch choosing Daimler-Benz to build the Swatch Mercedes ART, or smart as we know it, an Apple car may not be that far-fetched.

What’s your take on this? Share your opinions by leaving a comment below.

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is a marketing communications consultant working in the San Diego area. Cuong is dedicated to helping individuals and companies maximize their presence on the Internet and efficiently take products and services to market through SEO and network marketing. Cuong also maintains a blog on Marketing at You can also find Cuong Huynh's profile on LinkedIn. For fun he maintains a blog on Vietnamese pho, soccer and do storyboards for movie and film projects. Follow Cuong on Twitter @CuongHuynh, @LovingPho, @CleanCarTalk, @BlockbusterFilm, @SoccerUSA.
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