Apple has its eye on acquiring the British supercar maker McLaren Technology Group, according to reports citing unnamed sources.
The US tech giant, which has been working on an autonomous electric vehicle project over the past few years, has already approached the Surrey-based manufacturing firm and expressed interest in a strategic investment or even a full takeover of the firm.
A deal with McLaren would allow Apple to benefit from the carmaker’s expertise in automotive engineering and potentially speed up development of its secretive project.
The rumour is in line with previous reports which indicated that Apple is interested in collaborating with an established carmaker rather than designing the vehicle on its own.
According to the Financial Times, the two companies have been in talks for several months over a deal which could be worth over £1 billion – which would make it Apple’s biggest acquisition since its $3 billion Beats Electronics buyout in 2014.
A Wall Street Journal report published earlier this month suggested that Apple’s car could be released by 2009.
An estimated 1,000 Apple staff based in California and Berlin are working on the firm’s automotive project, dubbed Project Titan. The iPhone maker has poached employees Tesla and other automotive companies over the past two years.
The WSJ said in its report:
“Most major auto makers build and run their own factories, but that hasn’t been Apple’s strategy with iPhones or iPads. Contract manufacturing in the auto industry usually is limited to a few niche models.
“The 2019 target is ambitious. Building a car is a complex endeavor, even more so for a company without any experience. Once Apple completes its designs and prototypes, a vehicle would still need to undergo a litany of tests before it could clear regulatory hurdles.”
A tie-in with an experienced carmaker such as McLaren would significantly help Apple push forward with designing and building the vehicle.