Apple is reportedly in talks with McLaren, the British luxury car manufacturer, over an acquisition or strategic investment that would be the clearest indication yet of its plans to shake up the motor industry, UK media reports said.

Talks between Apple and McLaren Technology Group have been underway for several months over a deal that would be worth upwards of GBP1bn, the Daily Telegraph said, citing the Financial Times.

The Woking-based company counts the McLaren Formula One team and McLaren Automotive, the high-performance road car manufacturer as subsidiaries but also an applied technology division.

The papers noted Apple has long been rumoured to have ambitions to build its own electric car but the project is believed to have stalled in recent months with the company focusing on developing the software behind other manufacturers’ vehicles.

Earlier this month reports suggested that Apple could be planning to partner with an established carmaker to launch its entrance into the vehicle market, as opposed to designing a car of its own.

The company has become less averse to spending its cash under CEO Tim Cook in recent years. It agreed to buy the headphone company Beats in 2014 and recently made an investment in Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing app.

Cook has been tight-lipped on Apple’s automotive ambitions despite it being an open secret that the company has hired hundreds of engineers, although he has told the car industry to expect “massive change”.

It is unclear what the future of the McLaren Formula One team might be under Apple, the papers said.

Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said: “Apple is a tech company exploring the possibility of building a car. McLaren is a car company that always has incorporated advanced technology, and it’s currently one of the most popular brands in Silicon Valley. A tie-up between the two would make sense on multiple levels, giving Apple instant credibility as a viable automaker. McLaren would need to drastically increase its production capacity to serve the Apple customer base, but this pairing would lay the groundwork for Apple as a carmaker.”

Fellow KBB analyst Michael Harley added: “Apple’s potential acquisition of McLaren isn’t nearly as far-fetched as its initially sounds. Apple has been rumoured, but never officially confirmed, to be working on an electric car. McLaren is well-known as a manufacturer of high-performance sports and racing cars, but its true expertise is in engineering lightweight materials such as carbon fibre and aluminium, both of which are key building blocks to designing an innovative lightweight vehicle. Combine McLaren’s many proprietary patents with its proficiency in race technology, high-tech medical devices, and research, and the two do appear to be a perfect match for each other.”