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Dubai leads the way in McLaren bookings

McLaren’s P1 prototype is being taken to key global markets

Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai’s supercar lovers are running neck-and-neck with their Dallas counterparts in placing orders for the McLaren P1 — a model the marque carmaker is yet to officially confirm will go into full production mode. While doing so, they are placing substantial deposits even though a firm official pricing is still some way off. (Speculation is that it would be in the vicinity of £700,000 (Dh3.98 million).

“Obviously we will make [the announcement of the production] in the next two weeks at the Geneva Motor Show,” said Mark Harrison, Regional Director at McLaren Automotive. “But those who had private viewings in Dubai of the prototype, the interest has been incredible. People are saying they want to place the deposits to ensure they get one when it is made. “As of now, the Dubai dealership [Al Habtoor Motors has the rights for both Dubai and Abu Dhabi] is equal first with Dallas on taking deposits for this car, but I fully expect by the month end to be doing the leading.”

Once the confirmation formalities are gone through in March, the rollout of the first models to this region should happen this year itself. Only about 500 of these models, touted as the natural off-race track iteration of the McLaren F1, will be built annually.

Despite its racing vintage, McLaren’s stripes as a commercial carmaker were earned more recently. Its network of showrooms in the GCC came into being at the end of 2011, while the one in Abu Dhabi followed in mid-2012.

The Middle East accounts for 10 per cent of production for McLaren’s current best seller, the 12. Last year, around 150 units were delivered to these markets.

“Even with 10 per cent of allocation, the Dubai dealership still stood fifth worldwide last year,” said Harrison. “We see Dubai as being the volume market though Abu Dhabi has shown healthy interest.”

But has it been difficult convincing prospective buyers that an independent status will not come in the way of commitment to delivering?

“Our road car buyers just need to look at what we done for the past 50 years - that’s a commitment towards delivery and for maintaining relationships,” says Harrison.