The world's largest search company won't be getting into the car manufacturing business—at least not alone.
Google's Philipp Justus, managing director for the company's central and eastern Europe division, said on Tuesday at the Frankfurt Auto Show that the company will not be manufacturing vehicles.
"That is not something we could do alone," Justus told Reuters, pointing to partners like automotive suppliers Bosch [ROBG.Ul] and zf friedrichshafen. "Google also does not intend to become a car manufacturer."
Speculation over Google's car plans have surfaced in recent years as the search giant forges ahead on self-driving car technology. That has forced traditional carmakers, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and others, to look at how to integrate self-driving technology into their vehicles.
But will Google start selling self-driving cars like it sells Nexus devices? It has largely used Lexus SUVs and Toyota Prius vehicles to test its technology, but last year revealed its own car—a tiny coupe without a steering wheel. Then this week, it hired John Krafcik, former Hyundai USA CEO, to lead its self-driving car project.
Earlier this year, Google said it "started designing the world's first fully self-driving vehicle to transform mobility, making it easier, safer and more enjoyable for everyone to get around." As a result, Justus's comment about not going at it alone likely means that Google will offer its technology to third-party carmakers and generate cash that way.
Meanwhile, rumors abound that another technology company could eventually become a carmaker: Apple. Several recent reports have said that Apple is secretly working on its own electric car that could compete with the likes of Tesla. So far, Apple has confirmed nothing, though it did joke about it at its recent press event.
Whatever it decides, the rumors indicate that an iCar probably wouldn't arrive much before 2020.