It's far from certain that #Apple
will someday sell their own Apple branded cars, but I'm confident at this point that they are committing some serious resources towards that goal and that it makes sense.
Apple is fundamentally a design company. They have some interests in manufacturing but those are generally partnerships. They let other companies build their products. Given that it's not much of a stretch to see them following the same model in the automotive world.
Also keep in mind that Tim Cook is an operations wizard and that logistics and cost control are arguably Apple's greatest strengths in the post Steve Job's era.
Building cars requires getting a whole lot of parts from all over the place to the point of assembly at just the right time. Relationships play a part in that dance but fundamentally there is no difference between getting an iPad assembled and getting a car built.
Throw in the fact that cars are heavily differentiated price wise and this has Apple's sweet spot written all over it. Assuming of course that they import talent that knows the auto industry and they appear to be doing that.
I suspect we're looking at a 2020 time frame if Apple decides to move forward with this project.
As an aside, as recently as eight years ago Apple's R&D expenditures were relatively modest. They have grown significantly since which is the sign of a company continuing to evolve. The Apple juggernaut may falter some day, but if they do it will not be for lack of trying. http://www.networkworld.com/article/2884376/ios/is-apple-building-a-car.html