McLaren moves into profit, steps up production

KEITH WEIR
Last updated 12:03 05/06/2014
New McLaren supercar, the MP4-12C 650S.
New McLaren supercar, the MP4-12C 650S.
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McLaren P1 production line.
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The McLaren 12C GT Can-Am Edition.
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Unveiled during the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in the US, the one-off McLaren X-1 is based on the Ferrari-fighting MP4-12C, but boasts a unique, carbon fibre body that’s sure to split opinion at the exclusive event.

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McLaren Automotive, which makes limited-edition sports cars that sell for more than US$1 million (NZ$1.18m), plans to expand production after moving into profit for the first time, the company said on Wednesday.

Based in southern England, the niche carmaker was launched in 2010 as a sister company to the Formula One motor racing team with which it shares a brand and overlapping technologies.

Its expansion plans are likely to bring it into closer competition with luxury car brands such as Porsche, Audi and Aston Martin as well as current rivals Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The company, whose main shareholder is Bahrain's Mumtalakat investment fund, reported pretax profit of £4.5 million (NZ$8.9 million) in 2013 on turnover of £285 million.

''These results demonstrate that we have established a profitable long-term business,'' said Mike Flewitt, chief executive of McLaren Automotive.

The company is ultimately aiming for annual turnover of £1 billion once it has expanded production with the launch of a less expensive sports car which should be available by the end of next year.

Britain is the base for eight of the 11 Formula One teams, giving it a reputation for engineering expertise and helping to support a network of specialist parts suppliers across central and southern England.

McLaren is producing only eight cars a day at present at its factory in the town of Woking. It plans to more than double  production to 4000 per year once it launches its new two-seater sportscar which will have a price of £115,000-£135,000.

McLaren's most expensive P1 supercar sells for £866,000 and the company has said it will make only 375 of them — for which it has already taken orders.

US TV host Jay Leno is one of the wealthy individuals who have taken delivery of a P1.

McLaren's other current models are the 650S Coupe and Spider which sell for between £190,000 and £220,000 and were launched earlier this year.

McLaren exports around 90 per cent of its cars from Britain and opened new showrooms in four Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai last year.

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- Reuters

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