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Apple Is Said to Hold Talks With McLaren and Lit Motors

Apple, which laid off dozens of employees from its secretive car project this month, is increasingly seeking help from outside companies with expertise in vehicles.

Apple has been talking with McLaren, the automaker known for its Formula One racecars, about an investment in the company, according to two people briefed on the talks who asked to remain anonymous because the discussions were confidential.

Apple is also in talks with Lit Motors, a San Francisco start-up that has developed an electric self-balancing motorcycle, about a potential acquisition, according to three people who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the conversations were private. Apple has already hired several former Lit Motors engineers.

Apple declined to comment, as did Lit Motors. McLaren did not immediately respond to a call for comment. The Financial Times earlier reported the talks with McLaren.

Even as many Silicon Valley companies, including Google, Tesla and Uber, have embarked on high-profile electric and driverless car initiatives, Apple has kept quiet. Yet internally, it has pursued a car project, called Project Titan, which has had ups and downs in leadership and direction. The layoffs at the project this month came after the appointment of an Apple veteran, Bob Mansfield, to take over the effort.

A partnership with McLaren would allow Apple to tap into the carmaker’s high-end automotive technology, forged by years of building Formula One racecars and selling sports cars topping $ 1 million.

Unlike a more traditional automaker, McLaren does not have a large car production business to protect and could tap Apple’s resources to make its technology available to the masses — if Apple decides to move forward with building its own automobile.

An acquisition of Lit Motors could also help Apple rethink its strategy with building an electric car.

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NYT > Technology

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