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Gulf markets wait on the McLaren P1

Region could see receive more than 10 per cent production allocation of Dh4.4m sportscar

Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News
Mark Harrison, Regional Director, McLaren. With demandpulling well ahead of promised deliveries, it could have beena cinch for McLaren to build more of the P1s.
Gulf News

Dubai: Mark Harrison wants more and looks like he is getting them. The GCC markets could receive more than the 10 per cent allocation for the P1, McLaren’s latest high-performance sportscar which will go into production in the coming months in time for the first deliveries to made before the year end.

It could be a good thing too as the local dealership — Al Habtoor Motors — secured the highest number of pre-launch bookings in the world when the concept model was shown to prospective buyers in the Gulf.

Only 375 units will be made of the model — carrying a price tag of Dh4.4 million — each year. It has been standard practice by McLaren Automotive to set aside 10 per cent of production of each model for this region. Last year it sold 150 units in the region of its 1,500-unit production of the 12C Coupe and 12C Spider.

“The Gulf could receive around 50 units, more than the 10 per cent, and I’ve pushing for more cars from the factory,” said Harrison, regional director. “It is to do with knowing where the demand is — we had four good months with the 12C with sales improvement each month. It was easy for me to tell the factory we will need more P1s. “Also, with McLaren’s main shareholder being Bahrain’s Mumtalakat, I guess I had an ally there.”

Even with the 50 units, there will be a few disappointed buyers. But they would make for first lot of buyers when the 2014 production cycle kicks into gear.

With demand pulling well ahead of promised deliveries, it could have been a cinch for McLaren to build more of the P1s. But the demand-supply equation does not convince this carmaker.

“For collectors of such cars, they want a clear indication of how many units will be built and thus have a clear indication of what they would get for it two or three years later,” said Harrison. “On our part, we have to fix a number and stick to it. We see 375 as a number that satisfies hardcore car enthusiasts and those who want to use the car for day to day runs.

“Being an independent carmaker, the McLaren approach has to be about launching new products rather than build more cars.”

So, what would be an ideal full-year production number? Harrison believes it would be 5,000 units, and something that it plans to reach before the end of the decade.

To achieve this, the McLaren gameplan is to launch one new car or a derivative a year.

It is getting set to go big in China and will be adding more showrooms in North America, where it has nine retailers now. By 2018, the target is for 100 dealers worldwide from around 40 now. That is also the upper limit of what the carmaker wants.

“Over the recent past McLaren Automotive has gone through a good launch, now the business has stabilised,” said Harrison. “It would have been too easy for us to get greedy and build more cars. But that would not have been the McLaren way.”