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McLaren races towards break even

McLaren has released figures that show losses at its supercar manufacturing division, McLaren Automotive, have dropped to £10.9 million for 2012. This is a substantial improvement on the losses of £59.1 million recorded in 2011. The business is only three years old and the firm says that it expects to break even this year. In the same period, sales have nearly quadrupled.

McLaren has released figures that show losses at its supercar manufacturing division, McLaren Automotive, have dropped to £10.9 million for 2012. This is a substantial improvement on the losses of £59.1 million recorded in 2011. The business is only three years old and the firm says that it expects to break even this year. In the same period, sales have nearly quadrupled. These sales are being driven by the launch of the new luxury sports car, the P1. This hybrid supercar can do 0-62mph in under three seconds and costs a whopping £866,000.

Demand for the new model is so strong that the waiting list is being restricted to those who are invited to apply to be on it. The company says that it will make just 375 of the new P1s and most will be exported. Almost all of the cars have already been pre-sold and dealer allocations in Asia and the United States are already sold out. 2012 saw the first full year of production of the McLaren 12C and the convertible 12C Spider was also launched. This resulted in a fourfold rise in sales, from 400 to 1,587. The effect on turnover was similarly dramatic, rising from £68.9 million in 2011 to £266.6 million in 2012.

McLaren Automotive chief executive, Mike Flewitt, welcomed the results, saying: "We are already producing some of the world's most technologically advanced high performance sports cars. We will continue to deliver groundbreaking cars to customers around the world, continue to push the boundaries of automotive technology and continue to establish ourselves as a significant force in the high-performance automotive market." The company exports 80% of its cars to overseas markets, with many going to the emerging BRIC economies of Brazil, Russia, India and, especially, China. McLaren has also been building up an international network of dealerships, which now totals 50, with the latest one being opened in China.

The company's success reflects some of the wider trends in the British car manufacturing industry. The UK industry as a whole also exports around 80% of its production, with many cars ending up in the BRIC economies. It seems that those markets have a strong appetite for luxury and performance cars and UK marques like Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and, now McLaren, are ideally placed to take advantage. It seems also that buyers in these markets enjoy a touch of British nostalgia, with even the modest MINI performing well in these countries.

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