McLaren broadens its horizons

McLaren P1 675LT

TO date, McLaren Australia has not been encumbered with a range of great depth. First there was the MP4/12C, which morphed into the McLaren 650S, available in coupe and Spider forms. And that was it.

The P1 hypercar was never imported, because the steering wheel was on the wrong side – despite plenty of expressions of interest.

David McIntyre, McLaren’s Regional Director for Asia Pacific, outlined the company’s plans for expansion during the Australian unveiling of the 675LT.

Mc Laren -P1-front -embed“McLaren produced 1600 cars last year, and we’re looking at 3000 cars next year running up to our full capacity of 4500 vehicles by 2018,” he said.

“The new Sports Series cars [540C and 570S] will double our current volumes.

“Whereas the Super Series models [650S and 675LT] appeal to the traditional Italian supercar buyers, the Sports Series are attracting buyers who’ve graduated out of German sports cars.”

Although current (P11) Super Series cars are slated to be replaced by an all-new P14 car, due to surface in 2017, expect the 675LT to be McLaren’s flagship production car immediately prior to that release.

Mc Laren -P1-rear -embed“We have the P1 and P1 GTR as our third line, the Ultimate Series, but there won’t always be an Ultimate Series car,” McIntyre said.

“We’ll maybe bring these out once a decade. Customers buy these cars as investments and don’t actually want to see a new one.”

As for shorter term plans, “We may well expand the ranges [to include a three-tier line-up of C, S and LT models],” he said.

The Marketing and PR Manager for Asia Pacific, Geoff Tink, cast more light on McLaren’s progress.

“We’ve now got 90 dealers worldwide, with two in Australia [Sydney and Melbourne], with another opening in Queensland [slated to be Gold Coast],” he said.

Mc Laren -P1-interior -embed“The US still accounts for 40 percent of all sales, with Asia Pacific and Europe/Middle East sharing the other 60 percent evenly.”

When asked whether the more affordable Sport Series would cannibalise sales of the Super Series given limited production capacity, he admitted that there could be an element of this.

“This could occur to begin with, but we expect the market to level at 50 percent Sports Series and 50 percent Super Series,” Tink noted.

“There are anomalies in some markets. In Indonesia, for instance, we sold 14 cars in total. Seven of them were P1s.”

Then there was the thorny question whether McLaren’s Formula One travails dent the image of the company as a paragon of engineering excellence.

“It’s a short term issue that will have little effect on buyers,” said McIntyre. “People are seeing improvements on track, and as long as that happens, it’s not a problem.”

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