Apple Should Leave the Car-Making to Ford

 | Apr 17, 2017 | 8:07 AM EDT
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Let's face it, with more than $246 billion in cash Apple (AAPL) could do anything it damn well pleases. But, investors should be happy that it's not going to (yet) jump into making cars.

The tech giant disclosed on Friday that the California Department of Motor Vehicles had awarded it a permit to begin testing self-driving car technology on public roads in the state. Apple's permit covers three vehicles -- all 2015 Lexus RX 450h hybrid SUVs -- and six individual drivers. The potential for Apple in this space is huge, and certainly came to light at this year's New York International Auto Show.

Countless car companies from Mercedes-Benz to BMW to General Motors'  (GM) Cadillac were showing off autonomous driving features in their latest rides. The Cadillac CT6, for example, will have a super cruise feature that lets a driver roll along with no hands on the wheel. The problem with all of this technology from the car companies, of which Apple is probably well aware, is that it doesn't work amazingly well. Having tested several cars with autonomous driving functions, I can tell you this firsthand. It all feels like exploratory stuff done by an automaker, rather than game-changing seamless stuff done by a full-on innovative tech company such as Apple. 

Apple is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL? Learn more now.

Couple this with Apple already making a strong infotainment software system in Carplay, and it's obvious the company wants to be a major player in the auto space longer term. But, Apple investors should take heart in the company using old Lexus SUVs to test its self-driving technology, rather than something called the iCar. Making a car is a ridiculously capital-intensive business rife with peaks and valleys in the early development stages. Just ask Tesla (TSLA) how much cash it's burning and how long it takes to build a giant battery facility. Assembling cars is the last thing Apple needs to do at the same time it tries to keep innovating in handheld gadgets and health information. 

Leave the car-making to Ford, Tim Cook; just stay focused on developing the iPhone 15. 

Read This Or Lose Out 

Your car buying experience of the future: TheStreet takes a dive into the digital buying of used cars in this new feature. Companies such as Carvana and Shift (the former has filed papers for an IPO) are focusing on making the hassle of buying a car relatively seamless. Look out, oily haired used car salesmen, and AutoNation (AN) .

Welcome, the Fruit Loops shake: Starting Monday, Restaurant Brands' International (QSR) will sell the Fruit Loops shake for a limited time. For $2.99, you can get a shake made from vanilla-flavored soft serve ice cream, Fruit Loops cereal pieces (compliments of Kellogg's (K) ) and sweet sauce.

If you try this drink, please tweet photos and feedback to @BrianSozzi. 

Walmart has turned into a digital acquisition machine: Having covered Walmart (WMT) for about 13 years -- first as an analyst and now as an editor -- I have never seen the company move as fast as it is now with respect to e-commerce acquisitions (or price investments, or talent development).

The latest online target by Walmart could be Bonobos, a 10-year-old men's fashion retailer based in New York City. Walmart is in advanced discussions to acquire the company, according to Recode. Bonobos reportedly has between $100 million and $150 million in annual sales.

Kudos to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and new e-commerce chief Marc Lore (founder of Jet.com) -- these two appear dead set on being a credible threat to Amazon (AMZN) . Further, they seem very focused on distancing themselves from grocery stores such as Kroger (KR) and fellow discounter Target (TGT) (which has to make a digital acquisition, time is of the essence). 

 

Getting that itch to start the weekend.

A post shared by Bonobos (@bonobos) on

What global asset bubble: Boy, I would love to get my hands on the net worth of those who have tried to get on the list to buy one of Mercedes' new $2.4 million supercars. The hybrid car coined Project One, which will reportedly have 1,000 horsepower, has already sold out, according to Road & Track

 

Allegedly, the Mercedes AMG HyperCar will look something like this and have a F1 based TTV6 hybrid engine with some unique / trick technology that will require the owners to send the car back to England for an engine rebuild every so many miles. If this photo is accurate and if it will feature a Twin Turbo V6 F1 engine modified for road use, What are your thoughts? I can't wait for to see the hyper MercedesAMG Project One vs the Aston Martin Valkyrie and the McLaren BP23. Very exciting times ahead! ���������� (please note : this is NOT an official rendering of the Mercedes Project One) _______________________________________________________________ #Mercedes #ProjectOne #MercedesProjectOne #MercedesAMG #TTV6 #HPP #AstonMartin #AstonMartinLive #Valkyrie #RedBull #AstonMartinValkyrie #Nebula #CLKGTR #HyperCars #Bugatti #Koenigsegg #Pagani #Porsche #Lamborghini #Ferrari #McLaren #BP23 #SCG003 #ScuderiaCameronGlickenhaus #BecauseRaceCar #F1 #BLESSED

A post shared by Kris Singh (@lamborghiniks) on

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo goes all mid-life crisis: The potential 2020 White House contender rolled up to the New York Auto Show on Saturday in the 840 horsepower Dodge Demon, reports Jalopnik. Oddly, he was there to talk about eco-friendly cars.

Fiat Chrysler's (FCAU) Dodge Demon is anything but eco-friendly.

.@NYGovCuomo knows how to make an entrance at #NYIAS, racing up in the @Dodge Demon. pic.twitter.com/f4XO9SNtjC

— New York Auto Show (@NYAutoShow) April 15, 2017

A feel good story for a change: Kathrine Switzer, who made history in 1967 as a student by becoming the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon, will run in the race on Monday. This will be her first time running the Boston race since 1976, reports CNN.

Below is the iconic photo from her 1967 race where some dopey guy tried to pull off her number in a show of protest.

50 years ago Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to enter the Boston Marathon. On Monday she'll run it again. pic.twitter.com/wwje2c7mDD

— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 16, 2017

Happy National Mustang Day: For National Mustang Day on Monday, Ford (F) will celebrate by keeping the 526-horsepower Shelby GT350 and GT350R in production through the 2018 model year, reports USA Today

Yours truly will celebrate by sharing a photo of the GT350R, since you have never seen it before. 

 

���������������� #shelby #gt350r #awesome

A post shared by Keith (@keefs_stang) on

Back to the depressing news: Mass shootings are on a very unfortunate pace this year (see chart below). So far, there have been 91 mass shootings in the U.S., according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive (GVA). At the current rate calculated by GVA, 2017 is on track to have more mass shootings than any other year since GVA began tracking gun violence in the U.S., points out The Daily Dot.

Source: Gunviolence.org

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