Apple reportedly in discussions to buy sports car manufacturer McLaren

in General Discussion edited September 2016
Reports are circulating that Apple is in the midst of conversations to buy some aspects of the McLaren Technology Group, specifically, the division that is known for hand-crafted luxury high-performance sports cars to supplement the Apple Car project.

According to testimonials from "three people briefed on the negotiations" the Financial Times is claiming that Apple started negotiations to purchase McLaren for between ?1 billion and ?1.5 billion ($1.3 billion to $2 billion). Discussions have reportedly been ongoing for months.

McLaren is known for custom luxury sports car builds, and runs an advanced technologies group that feeds designs to its own Formula One racing team. The company built 1654 vehicles in 2015, and generated ?450m ($585 million) in revenue from the sales.

At this time it is not clear if Apple is seeking to buy just the automotive division from the group, or the entire group.

McLaren Automotive is headquartered in the McLaren Production Centre at the McLaren Technology Campus in Woking, Surrey. All of its products are built by hand, with little or no automation involved in the process.

The existence of Apple's automotive project dubbed "Project Titan" was first sussed out early last year. Soon after, AppleInsider discovered the automotive project was being run out of a top-secret facility in Sunnyvale, Calif.

The Titan team was at one time said to number above 1,000, including workers pulled in from other departments and specialists poached from automotive industry heavyweights.

In early September, Apple was said to have laid off dozens of workers from the as-yet unannounced Apple Car project. The layoffs were said to be because of a shift away from a whole-car approach, and towards a more specific software and control focus.


  • Reply 1 of 97
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 1,005member
    Only the most diehard fan boys will be able to buy these.
  • Reply 2 of 97
    I'm no car fanatic but I'm pretty sure McLaren are top of the game in terms of car mechanics technology. It would be a great talent acquisition for sure, but I would still bet this  rumour never happens.
  • Reply 3 of 97
    Considering the small fortune I've spent on Apple computers, phones, tablets, music players, media streamers, warranties, and accessories over the last decade, I could probably come close to affording a McLaren. :neutral: 
  • Reply 4 of 97
    williamh said:
    Only the most diehard fan boys will be able to buy these.
    No necessarily.  They can also make some well designed cars for the masses.
    Apple must be impress with their design methodologies, but they can design any kind of vehicle that they want.

    I must say, I see Jony Ives signature all over this deal.
    And yes!  McLaren makes some bad-ass cars!
  • Reply 5 of 97
    I can imagine a scaled up McLaren with a 'down market' division priced against the middle of the BMW, MB, Audi lines and the existing line of McLaren supercars continuing on as the halo division.
  • Reply 6 of 97
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    At least it is less money than the Beats acquisition, but I can't see how Apple can make any money without mass production, automation and middle class affordability.
  • Reply 7 of 97
    This actually makes a lot of sense.

    McLaren sports cars only cost $350,000 - yet they are hand made. They are similar in cost to other cars in its class: Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin, etc.

    What if:
    • Apple automates the manufacturing of McLarens to bring the cost down to $50,000 to $90,000?
    • Apple customizes the software to its user interface and design
    • Even adding autonomous driving as needed
    Apple could even have manufacturing done in China to bring the price down to $30,000 in mass quantity - brutally competing against the rest of the car industry.

    I thought buying all of BMW would make more sense and it would be also rather cheap at $65 billion.  But then I guess Apple executives aren't satisfied with BMW cars and how they drive. And it would be more difficult to blend in with Apple since it is an old stodgy company, not a massive startup like Apple is.
  • Reply 8 of 97
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,035member
    1) If this happens, it'll be referred to as MacLaren colloquially.

    2) Not sure why they need this, unless they want a high-end option to showcase what they can do for the automotive industry. But that assumes Apple will lease their solution, which would be atypical.
    edited September 2016 oneof52cali
  • Reply 9 of 97
    Does the Financial Times have something new or is the newspaper rehashing old news from July 2016?
  • Reply 10 of 97
    That's an odd purchase, but it's interesting to note that McLaren would be going for about half what Google paid for Nest.
  • Reply 11 of 97
    Self-driving supercars. Even crazier, self-driving F1 vehicles eliminating fatal accidents forever. ;-)
  • Reply 12 of 97
    irelandireland Posts: 17,796member
    You can't build the software for a car without building a car. As for software in other cars they already have CarPlay. Just look at the kind of people hired for the Apple Car project. There is no shift. Still building a car.
  • Reply 13 of 97
    irelandireland Posts: 17,796member
    That's an odd purchase, but it's interesting to note that McLaren would be going for about half what Google paid for Nest.
    We don't know the sale price yet. Apple are getting into the baby buggy business ;-)
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 14 of 97
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,035member
    volcan said:
    At least it is less money than the Beats acquisition, but I can't see how Apple can make any money without mass production, automation and middle class affordability.
    Less money or more money is irrelevant when you're talking about revenue and profits. It's clear Beats was a brilliant buy. If Apple is at fault for anything, it's not buying Beats years earlier when they saw the trend of Beats headphone sales in their very own stores.
  • Reply 15 of 97
     At least superficially, it seems consistent with the rumor that Apple has refocused their existing efforts on autonomous driving systems instead of entire cars.  They may have decided that their internal expertise is insufficient for the car. And so they are acquiring that expertise externally. 

     So it would break down like this: 

    1.  Existing internal team (perhaps supplemented by additional smaller acquisitions) develops autonomous driving system 
    2. McClaren responsible for car design 
    3.  external contract manufacturer builds new car at scale 
  • Reply 16 of 97
    Personally Aston Martin may better fits Apple's design style.
  • Reply 17 of 97
    irelandireland Posts: 17,796member
    cywoo said:
    Personally Aston Martin may better fits Apple's design style.
    Every car on the road looks like an Aston Martin nowadays and Martin's have a reputation for breaking down. The car Apple builds will be designed in-house by Ive and co. It's automotive engineering these hires will be for. And a big profile acquisition helps also from an exterior prospective point of you—Apple knows cars now.
    edited September 2016 calinolamacguyoneof52
  • Reply 18 of 97
    Jay leno said he doesn't really know which his favorite car is, (he owns 100's) but he did say his favorite car "company" is McLaren...

    Also, the Weekend WSJ, a few weeks back did a write-up on the latest McLaren and the big question was, "Why isn't this car electric?"

    I hope Apple does buy it! :)
  • Reply 19 of 97
    Well if its true and it happens, then I hope they keep the name.

    Owning a McLaren sounds far better than owning an Apple Car.
    edited September 2016 kudurandominternetpersonmrboba1propod
  • Reply 20 of 97
    This could be a brilliant acquisition. The target is relatively inexpensive, brings cachet and automotive tech, Apple as an owner has enough cachet by itself to keep McLaren's high-end models, and could easily come up with something in the $50K - $75K range that is mass-produced.
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