Apple could be in discussions to purchase supercar maker McLaren.
That would be a major development in the auto industry, though conflicting reports keep this news from being anything more than a rumor at this point.
Apple, of course, has not-so-secretly been working on Project Titan, the “secret” venture that everyone knows will result in Apple’s first car.
But building a car may have become harder than Apple anticipated. A shakeup of the Project Titan leadership team and a possible delay of the Apple car make it plausible that the tech giant has decided to invest in technology that already exists.
An article at Financial Times said:
Apple has approached McLaren Technology Group, the British supercar engineer and Formula One team owner, about a potential acquisition, in the clearest sign yet that the iPhone maker is seeking to transform the automotive industry.
The California technology group, which has been working on a self-driving electric vehicle for more than two years, is considering a full takeover of McLaren or a strategic investment, according to three people briefed on the negotiations who said talks started several months ago.
Oddly enough, McLaren has a different point of view.
Jalopnik inquired with McLaren and posted these quotes:
“We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment,” McLaren’s terse, one-line official statement reads.
A source we spoke to at McLaren went further, saying there was zero truth to the rumor. “It’s not true at all. There’s no chatter, there’s no acquisition,” the source said.
At this point we can’t make any assumptions about who is telling the truth. The rumor does, however, open up the possibility that Apple would rather buy existing technology than develop new technology on its own. If that’s the direction Apple chooses and the McLaren acquisition is out of the question, what other automakers might make a good prospect for an Apple takeover?
SSC North America has supercar technology, but lacks McLaren’s F1 experience. Earlier this year rumors surfaced that Apple might have its eye on Tesla, but nothing more has come of it. There are a bunch of other small automakers around the world that would be thrilled to take Apple’s money, but it’s unlikely that they’d have the kind of technology Apple desires.
The story of the Apple car has captivated the world for years, and it’s only getting more compelling.
Does it make sense for Apple to buy an existing car company? Which one?