Steve Jobs and the Auto Industry

There are some great lessons for the auto biz in the career of the late Steve Jobs.

They have very little to do with the obvious—adding iPhone apps and infotainment systems like Ford’s Sync to cars.

As you might expect, there has been a lot of laudatory garbage written about this revolutionary guy and his connection to the auto world. Usually it’s about “the iPod fundamentally changing how we entertain ourselves behind the wheel.” Sheesh!

What Steve Jobs really can teach us is not product application but basic lessons in marketing and management. His genius was to create the best and make people want it. He knew how to change people’s minds about what they buy.

I wrote earlier about how ridiculous it was for GM’s Joel Ewanick to propose that General Motors align with “true global brands like Apple.” Do you really think Apple is some kind of model you can copy, Joel? Making Malibus is not like making iPhones, and GM has to learn how to make more desirable commodities that people need, not the Apple-style conversation pieces that people want.

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