Apple Car project enlists Porsche engineer in rumored poach, report says

Porsche engineer Manfred Harrer

Manfred Harrer helped bring the Taycan to life.


Hyundai is rumored to have a significant involvement in the mysterious Apple Car, and its sister company Kia may even build it here in America. Now, the rumor mill suggests Porsche talent will have a hand in a vehicle from the technology powerhouse. Business Insider Germany reported Thursday that Apple has hired Manfred Harrer, who served as Porsche’s vice president of chassis development. It would be an enormous score for Apple and a clear sign the company has major automotive plans.

Harrer hasn’t made the move public, if it’s true, as his LinkedIn profile currently names him the vice president of the Cayenne line of SUVs. BI Germany says Harrer left Porsche quietly at the end of last year to work on the highly secretive Apple Car project. Porsche declined to comment on “potential personnel matters” and Apple didn’t return a request for comment on Harrer’s employment status.

If Harrer did join the Apple team it once called “Project Titan,” it throws a wrench in reporting the company will use Hyundai’s recently revealed E-GMP electric car platform as the bones of its vehicle. Hiring on a chassis expert such as Harrer might indicate Apple wants to go further than plucking Hyundai parts off a shelf. At a minimum, he could help Apple turn the E-GMP platform into something unique. The rumors suggest game-changing battery technology is part of Apple’s push to build a world-beating EV as the electrified era really starts to heat up.

It certainly feels like we’re on the verge of hearing some concrete news as reports swirl around Apple and Hyundai. Perhaps the next few months will bring clarity to Project Titan after years of ups and downs. Analysts have warned Apple is still years away from actually having a production vehicle to show, however, should Titan eventually grow physical wheels and a powertrain.

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Katherine E. Ackerman

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