According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple Inc. has hired Doug Betts, former head of global quality at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The Cupertino-based firm did not immediately respond to media outlets’ request for comment on the matter. Betts’s LinkedIn profile confirms his new position with Apple, though a specific job title was not disclosed.
The hire, however, has reignited discussion about Apple developing an electric automobile. Rumors about an effort, code named “Titan”, rumors surfaced in February, with reports suggesting that Cupertino had “several hundred” employees working on an electric vehicle.
Betts, meanwhile, certainly knows his way around automobiles, after nearly 10 years as production manager at Michelin, he moved up to general manager of Toyota (8 years), then spent time as senior vice president of Nissan (3 years), before taking on the same title at Chrysler (7 years).
Apple often experiments with technologies it never brings to market, but various sources suggest that the size of the project team (1,000+ workers), and the senior management involved, indicate that Apple is serious about future car technology.
Apple’s main competitor on this front is Tesla, which reportedly “borrowed” a few Apple workers. Last year, Tesla chief Elon Musk had informal talks with execs at Apple, but denied any acquisition plans.