McLaren reveals new supercar plans
McLaren’s all-new mid-engined supercar will go on sale in 2011, with around 1000 cars a year being built, the company has revealed. However, McLaren says the addition of further P11 variants, as well as another new model, should bring annual output up to around 4000 cars by 2015.
The future models are currently under development and Frank Stephenson, whose portfolio includes the BMW Mini and Maserati MC-12, will oversee the styling.
No technical details about the P11 were forthcoming at the press unveiling, and no pictures were allowed to be taken, but Autocar reports that the styling of the P11 does not draw heavily from the McLaren F1 and is a similar size to a Ferrari F430. Some sources say that P11 will be powered by a Mercedes V8 re-worked by Mahle in the UK.
Antony Sheriff, managing director of McLaren Automotive, says the car “is not manufactured like any supercar you have seen.” He also says the cars will be “more exclusive and priced at a premium” compared to rivals.
A more in-depth technical description of the car is scheduled for July. However, the P11 is already close to its production form after two years of intense development and 24 prototypes. Although McLaren didn’t say that the P11 has been held back from being launched, the company said it expected the economy to recover by 2011, when volumes in this market segment will “return to 2003 levels.”
Prices will kick off from 100,000 euros ($132,000) and McLaren says it wants three percent of this global market, which it calculates as around 130,000 units per year. McLaren is currently building up a global dealer and distribution network to sell the new models.
The supercars will be built by a new, independent, company called McLaren Automotive, which will be led by Ron Dennis, who has stepped down from heading up the F1 team. Dennis wants to sell 49 percent of McLaren Automotive for around $375m, ensuring the project is “debt free” and fully funded.
This project is also seen as the best way of growing the whole McLaren operation in the medium term, partly by exploiting the company name, which “research shows can support a supercar brand.”
To accommodate the ramping up of car production, McLaren Automotive intends to build a new, stand-alone factory. No details were given about the location, although the company says it will lodge a request for planning permission within a month.
McLaren Automotive expects to create up to 800 new jobs at the facility.