Would Apple buy supercar-maker McLaren?

Would Apple buy supercar-maker McLaren? Back in June, McLaren Group’s financial woes came into sharp focus as the company’s lawyers filed a petition in June warning that the company would run out of money if bondholders prevented it from mortgaging assets, including its Norman Foster-designed British HQ.

McLaren Senna
McLaren Senna

Chris Bryant for Bloomberg Opinion:

McLaren’s Bahraini owners subsequently arranged a 150 million-pound ($201 million) unsecured loan and bondholders were persuaded to allow a sale and leaseback of the extravagant lakeside HQ.

On Sunday McLaren announced the sale of a 185 million-pound stake in its Formula 1 racing team, which should stop it becoming a further drain on the company. Still, the manufacturer isn’t out of the woods: It lost 250 million pounds in the first nine months of 2020, and held less than 40 million pounds of cash at the end of September.

While help might arrive from another rich benefactor or private equity, a tech company might be a more useful partner and more tolerant of McLaren’s cash burn… Most of the big automakers are tightening their belts and probably aren’t looking to add trophy brands.

California might be more fruitful for the tech-rich McLaren. In 2016 Apple Inc. looked at buying a stake in the carmaker. The two companies share an affinity for engineering and good design. While the iPhone maker has since pivoted toward autonomous driving systems, rather than building a car, I wouldn’t entirely rule out a rematch.

MacDailyNews Take: If Apple were interested in buying McLaren, it would seem that McLaren Applied would be the focal point of said interest.

We work at the intersection of technology, data and human ingenuity to redefine what’s possible and are committed to a journey of relentless improvement that challenges convention, transforms markets and delivers powerful competitive advantage.McLaren Applied

We’ve always tried to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, to be able to get the best of both, to make extremely advanced products from a technology point of view, but also have them be intuitive, easy to use, fun to use, so that they really fit the users – the users don’t have to come to them, they come to the user. – Steve Jobs


  1. I think that Tesla will acquire McLaren. Elon Musk bought a McLaren as a young man and he has great affection for the brand. Musk was in England scouting locations for a Tesla factory earlier this year. No doubt Tesla could use their headquarters as a research and design center.

    1. Except it’s battery technology powers formula E and it’s engineering prowess is second to none. If Apple is truly aiming to produce a quality car I can see the synergy but not sure they would wish to be involved with F1 and separating the two seems to be counter productive arguably for a company where one plays off the other. That said when the battery contract returns to Williams in a year McLaren has said it is likely to enter Formula E as a competitor which it’s barred from going presently, so that might be more of interest perhaps from a branding exercise to Apple as its competitors are very much involved in F1 and/or Formula E. But I reckon it’s all an outside bet personally.

      1. McLaren are the world leaders in carbon tub frames for cars. These are orders of magnitude safer than traditional cars. 70+year olds crashing mclarens crashing at 150mph have walked away without a scratch.


        Look at the car, it disintegrated not eh outside, but inside the carbon tub, the interior basically is new and untouched. It is incredible tech. Plus carbon fiber is super light.

        This would be a big help for electric cars. It would let Apple do something transformational in the space.

  2. High performance gas powered vehicles wouldn’t be Apple’s thing either. Now they could buy them for their design team expertise but that team could easily dissipate to join other companies very easily.
    I do like McCaran but this is really not in Apple typical area of interest. I hope they survive.

  3. “While the iPhone maker has since pivoted toward autonomous driving systems, rather than building a car, I wouldn’t entirely rule out a rematch.”

    Want to read on your handheld device? Nobody reads anymore!

    Want to use an iPod with you PC? Sorry, it’s a Mac halo product.

    Watch video on your handheld device? Music players shouldn’t be multifunctional.

    Want music on your phone? We’ll embed iPod software in another manufacturer’s phone.

    As with most things Apple, it’s true until it isn’t.

    In automotive, Apple will own the entire widget, control the foundational technologies and be responsible for delivering the entire customer experience.

    1. Well, no. Secure voting machines aren’t allowed. Plus it would only be a niche market. 🙂
      Apple could buy McLaren and put Jony in charge of it, instead of him going to Ferrari.

  4. I believe Apple should stay far away from McLaren. They build some rather nice-looking supercars/hypercars, but from what I’ve seen on many Youtube video channels, they’re a nightmare to repair if anything goes wrong. Also, I would rather see Apple acquire a company that’s not struggling with massive debt. I have no idea what type of car company Apple should acquire. Apple should acquire an auto production plant and start building its own cars from scratch with the help of people who know how to build good cars.

    I enjoy watching high-performance vehicles in action such as Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Paganis, etc., but I’d rather Apple build more practical vehicles for the masses. I think that’s where Apple would be able to gain market share. I honestly don’t know anything about the automobile market as I don’t own a car and mainly use a bicycle to get around. I’d just like to see Apple go head-to-head with Tesla with self-driving, battery-powered vehicles, although I doubt Apple could beat Tesla considering how many people love Elon Musk and how much of a head-start Tesla has with manufacturing and charging infrastructure. Maybe Apple should just stay away from the whole auto venture or just build smart systems for other automakers.

    1. I doubt Apple could beat Microsoft considering how many people love Bill Gates and how much of a head-start Microsoft has with applications and the operating system. Maybe Apple should just stay away from the whole computer venture or just license their OS to other computer makers.

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