Betts, ex-Chrysler quality chief, joins Apple
Doug Betts, the former head of global quality at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and an expert in auto manufacturing, has joined Apple Inc., according to the auto industry veteran’s LinkedIn profile.
Betts’ account on the social networking website for professionals said he joined the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant with the title of “Operations — Apple Inc.” in July.
His hiring signals Apple’s work on an electric-car project could be gaining ground. Apple has hired hundreds of experts to work on the EV project — code-named “Titan” — but hasn’t publicly acknowledged the program, making it hard to assess its scope.
The online profile did not provide much detail about the move but said Betts will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Betts, 51, who has spent more than 25 years in the auto industry with companies including Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., left his role of head of quality at FCA last year to “pursue other interests.” His departure occurred a day after the automaker ranked last in Consumer Reports’ annual reliability study. Dodge, Ram, Jeep and Fiat brands were the bottom-four finishers.
A representative for Apple declined to comment. Betts could not be reached.
Some analysts and investors speculate car manufacturing maybe the next growth avenue targeted by Apple.
Apple, traditionally secretive about its projects, added to the speculation when a senior executive in May said that developing a car would be the “ultimate mobile device.”
The story was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
In addition to Betts, Apple recently recruited a leading autonomous-car researcher in Europe and is building a team to work on those systems, the Journal reported.