British supercar maker McLaren is on a mission to reverse its first sales slide since launching in Australia, after deliveries dropped by 24% last year.
After more than tripling its annual sales from 2012 to 2016 – from 23 to 93 deliveries – McLaren peaked with 116 vehicles reported as sold in 2017. However, sales hit the brakes in 2018 with just 88 finding buyers locally.
By comparison, Ferrari hasn't had a dip, with sales growing consistently over the same period, from 98 sales in 2012 to 241 last year.
The sales surge from fellow Italian supercar brand Lamborghini has been similar, growing from 41sales in 2012 to 134 last year, although its tally dipped marginally between 2016 and 2017.
Despite last year's downturn, the Asia-Pacific boss of McLaren, Rob Pritchard, said he is "comfortable" with the results and pointed to a modest sales recovery so far this year. According to VFACTS, McLaren has sold two more cars than the same period last year (38 to 40 vehicles year-to-date to the end of May).
"We've got confidence in both the product line-up that we've got currently and also our retail partners in Australia," he said.
"[Our outlook] is one of optimism, it's one of foreseeing growth. Not exceptional growth, we're not saying record numbers or anything like that, but I think we'll show progress on last year's figures."
To help boost sales, McLaren is about to expand its dealer footprint with a fourth Australian showroom. From August, a McLaren dealership in Adelaide, run by Melbourne-based Zagame group, will join McLaren dealers in Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast.
McLaren Financial Services will also launch in Australia by the end of this year, but the company hasn't revealed which finance group will underwrite the deal.
At the moment, the McLaren range consists of two Sport Series cars (the $350,000 540C and $408,000 570S) priced to compete with higher-end Porsche 911 variants – plus the Ferrari 488-rivalling 720S ($489,900), and the hardcore 600LT Coupe ($452,000) and Spider, of which fewer than 50 are likely to reach our shores.
The range will be bolstered by the GT later this year – or in early 2020. It's expected to be priced around $400,000 before on-road costs. McLaren claims the GT will have a softer, more touring-focused driving experience.