By: Malcolm Mayhew
McLaren’s had quite a run, and we got to enjoy a bit of Monday, when the company put us behind the wheel of a new Spider convertible on the streets of Dallas. (The two-seater, rear-engine sports car sits a bit lower than the Suburbans we encountered in traffic.) The British maker of handmade performance cars is expected to sell 4,000 cars this year for the first time, and itself on track for 6,000 by the middle of next decade, selling largely to men in their 40s and 50s. Sales in China, United States, Asia Pacific, and Europe are surging. McLaren, which supports a Formula 1 racing team, expects, under its Track25 growth plan, to launch 18 new models and variants by 2025, largely within its existing 600LT, 570S, and 540C Sport Series, 720S Super Series, and Ultimate Series. That includes an all-electric car and $2.1 billion in planned capital investment. McLaren continues to make all of its vehicles at its plant in Woking, England near London. Tony Joseph, president of McLaren North America, is in Dallas this week visiting Park Place Motor Cars, which has McLaren dealerships in Dallas and Houston, McLaren’s two in Texas. Park Place was one of the original nine McLaren dealerships in the U.S., when the company launched its U.S. presence in 2011. McLaren has 21 U.S. dealers today; Dallas, on pace to sell 85 cars this year, is among the top five. “It’s a very significant market for us,” Joseph says.
Is McLaren happy with two Texas dealerships?
Joseph: “We want to be very careful. We want to be strategic about our locations. We want to make sure we’re going into the right markets and we don’t want to oversaturate our markets.”
Why growth will “stabilize”
Joseph: “We’re still in a growth period. When we launched, we had very little brand identity. It was very important for us to build that brand identity. We built the market in a very short period. It’s going to stabilize because we can only build so many cars.”
Why not take manufacturing to other countries?
Joseph: “It would be very difficult to do. Because our cars are handmade, it highlights the need to have it all in one place.”
Expansion within each product line
Joseph: “You can assume there will be a 720S Spider (convertible), for example. And you can assume there will be a 620LT Spider as well.”
Why no SUV?
Joseph: “We’re looking at what we do and what we do well, and what we do well is performance cars.”
How much time do you spend worrying about tariffs? (U.S. has a 2.5 percent tariff on cars imported from Europe, but President Trump is threatening more.)
Joseph: “We do not spend a lot of time worrying about it, because we can’t. We’ll have to wait and see what the impact is on the market. We’re hopeful and optimistic there will be no tariffs.”
How someone from Cowtown can buy a McLaren
Joseph: “We’ve got owners who never set foot in the dealership or our service centers, because their cars are picked up and dropped off.”
By: Malcolm Mayhew