Evolution, not revolution at McLaren

Updated 08 July 2017
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Evolution, not revolution at McLaren

The restructuring of McLaren into McLaren Group — combining the technology group and automotive arm — is a good example of long-term strategic thinking.
Furthermore, it reasserts Arab leadership and management of their sovereign assets abroad.
The McLaren Group is part-owned by sovereign wealth fund Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co. and TAG Group, which are set to remain majority shareholders. Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain will become executive chairman of the new group, valued at $3.1 billion, and pledged to follow a policy of “evolution, not revolution.”
He succeeds Ron Dennis, the veteran chairman of 37 years who sold his holdings to the group and resigned.
This move ensures stability and managed growth for McLaren after a period of uncertainty and speculation.
Until recently, it was rumored that McLaren was heading to float on the stock exchange, following in the footsteps of Ferrari.
This was followed by news of a possible takeover by Apple or Chinese companies. Dennis, 70, said after losing the CEO role at McLaren Technology that the grounds for his removal were “entirely spurious” and came after clashes with Mumtalakat and TAG over his views on outside investment and the future of the business.
It seems that Dennis wanted revolution through a public offering of McLaren stock, of which he had about $350 million worth of shares (which he sold to Mumtalakat).
However, the conservative sovereign fund and the TAG Group prefer caution and evolution.
As majority holders in the new McLaren Group, they have asserted their authority and forged their calm way forward.
McLaren has been successful with its car production arm and has achieved profits in the past few years.
They have ambitious plans for the future and they have the talent, tools and technology to further their success.
• Adel Murad is a senior motoring and business journalist based in London.


Saudi Aramco seeks to overhaul engines and fuel amid electric vehicle hype

Updated 06 March 2019
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Saudi Aramco seeks to overhaul engines and fuel amid electric vehicle hype

  • Diesel has proven a key cause of health-threatening nitrogen oxide pollution
  • Saudi Aramco is working on gasoline compression ignition which mixes fuel and air more effectively prior to combustion

GENEVA: More efficient fuels and more sophisticated combustion engines are needed to bring down carbon dioxide pollution and to secure the long-term future of Saudi Aramco’s business, the company’s chief technology officer said on Wednesday.
“The growth of transport is greater than the growth of alternative drivetrains,” Ahmad Al-Khowaiter, Chief Technology Officer at Saudi Aramco told journalists at the Geneva car show.
The spike in electric car production in Europe will not offset an overall increase in global greenhouse gas emissions as emerging economies industrialize and buy cars with petrol and diesel engines, Al-Khowaiter said.
“Improving combustion engines is key to sustaining our business in the long term,” he said.
While carmakers have rolled out advances in combustion engine technology, the availability of sophisticated fuels has not kept pace, Al-Khowaiter said.
Diesel became an industry standard more than 100 years ago and has remained popular mainly because it did not evaporate quickly, making it safer to handle during storage and refueling.
“Rudolf Diesel did not consider fuels which evaporated easily. That was an accident of history,” Al-Khowaiter said, referring to the German founder of the diesel engine technology.
But diesel has proven a key cause of health-threatening nitrogen oxide pollution, which is blamed for respiratory diseases, forcing the industry to explore ways to cut emissions.
“We can now optimize the fuel and the engine at the same time. And we can bring it to market by adding another fuel pump at the gas station, just like it is done with higher octane fuels,” Al-Khowaiter said.
“We do the patents on the fuel development to enable the engines to be efficient,” the executive said.
Saudi Aramco is working on gasoline compression ignition which mixes fuel and air more effectively prior to combustion, resulting in lower nitrogen oxide and soot emissions and a 30 percent improvement in fuel economy.
The petrochemicals giant is also helping to develop mobile carbon capture technologies which could be built into next generation passenger cars for around $1,400 per vehicle, and help to cut carbon dioxide emissions.