Most recently CEO of autonomous car developer Canoo, Mr Kranz worked at BMW for 30 years and was senior vice-president of the Munich marque’s division that developed the i3 and i8 cars.
Mr Kranz left BMW in 2016 and became chief technology officer at EV startup Faraday Future before leaving after three months to co-found Canoo.
He is regarded by industry experts as one of Apple’s most significant automotive appointments, which, according to Bloomberg is “a clear sign that the iPhone maker is determined to build a self-driving electric car to rival Tesla Inc. and other carmakers”.
Mr Kranz will report to Doug Field, who led development of Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 and now runs Apple’s car project.
Apple has become the world’s most valuable company, with a market capitalisation of more than $A3 trillion, by selling iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Mac personal computers, and services. It is now targeting cars and augmented-reality headsets.
The company started to develop an EV in 2014 but ceased in 2016 to focus on an autonomous platform. During this time, it hired several Tesla executives who now run divisions including drivetrain engineering, self-driving software, interiors and exteriors.
By Neil Dowling