Apple Inc. has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former senior executive at BMW AG’s electric car division, to lead its vehicle efforts, according to people familiar with the situation.
The technology giant hired Kranz in recent weeks, about a month after he stepped down as chief executive officer of Canoo Inc., a developer of self-driving electric vehicles. Before co-founding Canoo, Kranz was senior vice president of the group that developed the i3 and i8 cars at BMW, where he worked for 30 years.
Mr. Kranz is one of Apple’s most significant automotive hires, a clear sign that the iPhone maker is determined to build a self-driving electric car to rival Tesla Inc. and other carmakers. Kranz will report to Doug Field, who led development of Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 and now runs Apple’s car project.