Apple’s rumoured interest in supercar maker McLaren and little known start-up Lit Motors provides yet more evidence of the technology giant’s ambitions to revamp the automotive sector.
A Financial Times (FT) report said Apple approached Britain’s McLaren about a potential acquisition or strategic investment, as it looks to step up its work on developing self-driving vehicles, or indeed on a platform it can go to market with.
The company has been working on a not so secret car project for a few years, and focus has reportedly shifted from building a complete car to developing an underlying technology platform.
This strategy gives it the option to go to market and sell a platform technology to existing car makers, and indeed the option to develop the hardware too and sell its own automobiles.
The interest in McLaren would not exactly help Apple’s work on developing a car, according to market watchers, but would give it access to a top brand name, high end buyers and a research and development strategy.
McLaren’s prowess in Formula 1 could also give Apple more marketing and exposure in a field it is not yet established in.
McLaren has since responded, stating “it is not in discussions with Apple about any potential investment.” However, it did not say it had not been approached.
McLaren would be valued at between £1 billion and £1.5 billion, said FT.
At the other end of the spectrum is US-based Lit Motors. Apple is reportedly in “active talks” to acquire the company, which has a portfolio of 10 technology patents centred on self-driving platforms, and another 82 in the works, said Bloomberg.
The start-up is developing a new type of electric vehicle, added TechCrunch, which it described as an “electric motorcycle with a few tricks up its sleeve”.
Apple’s interest in Lit Motors would provide it with the know-how to develop components for an electric car, or a platform for other car makers. In its efforts to develop a car platform, the company is also competing with many other tech and car companies for talent in the field. Lit Motors employs 13 engineers with car platform experience, added a Bloomberg source.