Ultra-high-end car brands should think twice before expanding their scale, and only chase big volume growth for the right reasons, according to the regional chief of iconic British supercar brand McLaren.
In Melbourne this week for the local premiere of the McLaren 675LT — the track-honed flagship of its Super Series range — McLaren Automotive Asia Pacific regional director David McIntyre spoke of the company’s mid-term plans, which contrast with a number of fellow supercar-makers.
McLaren Automotive — a sister company to the Formula One arm — now comprises three model families, being the entry Sports Series (570S and 540C), the Super Series (the 650S and 675LT) and the Ultimate Series (P1 range), each of which will spin off various derivatives and special editions each year.
Pictured above: McLaren 675LT
“I think it's more important we don’t just expand volume but that we actually create a product cycle with each of our series that actually complement each other,” McIntyre said.
“We have plans to develop a regular cadence of different variants within three different series that will continue for years ahead, new product and new derivatives will then maintain volume and profitability, and also appeal for customers as well.”
The company’s recent sales growth has nevertheless been outstanding and is due to get better, growing 20.0 per cent to 1648 worldwide in 2014, projecting about 1800 units this year and 3000 units in 2016.
By 2017, it will be nudging the 4500-unit production capacity at its spotless UK production site.
Pictured above: McLaren 570S
And there it will stay, added McIntyre, who spoke with CarAdvice on the value of staying super-exclusive. With even Lamborghini getting into the SUV game, capping production at such a low level is a relative rarity.
“So we don’t get to 4500 and build another factory, frankly, we don’t have the funding for that, and if we did we’re too busy anyway," he said.
“I think it’s important that people don’t build extra capacity and over-hit, which means they need to chase volume… it’s really important people don't just grow volume for vanity reasons, but actually create sustainable, profitable business..."
Pictured above: McLaren P1
Among brands of equivalent scale, only Ferrari is doing similarly, though even its 7000-unit annual cap ordered by ex-boss Luca Di Montezemolo is widely expected to be upped to 10,000.
The news for McLaren Australia is great at the minute. It opened a second national dealer, this one in Melbourne, last November and plans to have one in Queensland by early 2016. Sales are up 50.0 per cent to 21 this year, and will likely at least double again in 2016 once the Sports Series models arrive.
As we have reported, the ($408,000) McLaren 570S and ($350,000) McLaren 540C coupe rivals to the Porsche 911, Audi R8 and AMG GT arrive from the second quarter of 2016. They'll join the 650S in the local range.
The McLaren 675LT that we checked out today is a global limited-edition series comprising 500 cars, with 15 allocated to Australia, priced from $657,000 drive-away.
Not that it matters, since all are sold already.
Tell us your thoughts on the McLaren Automotive brand. How do you see it as being different (better/worse) than rival brands such as Ferrari?