News - McLaren
Australian McLaren dealerships and sales to double
Third McLaren dealership on its way, Perth under consideration for fourth
1 Jul 2015
By DANIEL GARDNER in ENGLAND
MCLAREN will continue to grow its brand recognition on Australian soil with one more dealership added to the local network within 12 months and another likely to follow in Western Australia.
The British supercar builder could not officially confirm where the third outlet would be, but with Melbourne and Sydney dealers already up and running, a logical progression would make a location in Queensland the most likely candidate.
After that, McLaren says Perth would be the company’s next focus but was still considering whether the WA location would be a full dealership or just a service centre for existing customers.
Speaking at McLaren’s 2014 financial review in Woking England, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt told GoAuto the Australian market was “good, but will do better,” and an extended dealer network combined with new products had the potential to double sales.
“We opened the second point so Australia, this year, is probably going to be about 50 or 60 cars and with 570S it will jump to about 120 cars,” he said.
“We’re trying to work out what to do on the far side over in Perth because I’m not convinced there’s the volume, but there’s quite a few owners over there so we might just put a service point or something.
“I think we are going to be three dealers, perhaps a fourth. Let's work out if the service centre in Perth is the right answer rather than a full dealership and then we will see what we are doing in terms of volume.”
Mr Flewitt explained that a large part of the expansion would be driven by the new more “attainable” Sports Series which would be spearheaded by the 570S mid-engined carbon-fibre sportscar.
“I think 570S will resonate quite well down there. It’s a market where we’ve got a lot of very enthusiastic customers,” he said.
“We are deliberately not pitching its volumes too high so that for the whole Sports Series, our ambition is about 2000 cars a year globally. If you look at just (Porsche 911) Turbo and Turbo S its about 4500 cars so we are not looking to dominate that market, but what we are going to do is compete.”
Despite the company’s ambitious local expansion plans, Mr Flewitt said McLaren was acutely aware that too much growth could damage the brand, and could diminish the exclusivity of the cars.
“It’s a really hard call and I won't pretend to be a brand expert but I have a very strong view of that,” he said. “One of the things that’s going to be critical is that McLaren reinforces in the public mind what that brand is really about.
“We are number one driver’s cars, probably number two technically driven but we are a luxury exclusive product. It’s a luxury to be able to participate in a product of that price and what they don’t want is for it to be ubiquitous. They don’t want to see one everywhere.
“If you build too much or if you stray too far from your brand identity you do start to dilute the brand over time. I’m not pointing the finger at any particular car company, you see it in all walks of life with brands.
“It’s very tempting once you have brand credibility to exploit it by moving into other markets.”
Earlier this year McLaren opened its second dealership in Melbourne taking the nationwide total to two after the pioneer Sydney outlet.
The Sports Series range of cars will kick off with the 570S top-performer but will be joined by a more affordable 540C, while further additions including an open-top and LT version are also likely.
Globally speaking, the company continues to grow, selling 18 per cent more cars in 2014 compared with the previous year, resulting in its second consecutive year of profit.
Last year McLaren made a before-tax profit of 15 ($A30.5m) compared with its first before-tax profit year in 2013 when it made 4.5 million ($A9.2m).
The company invested about 91.8m ($A187m) or 20 per cent of its turnover in research and development and plans to allocate a similar proportion of 2015 turnover.
Standard versions of the 650S are still available and the first examples of the Sports Series are on their way, but P1, P1 GTR and all 500 examples of the 675LT have sold out.
Assisted by the more “attainable” Sports Series, McLaren plans to grow sales from the 1649 vehicles sold globally in 2014, to about 4000 in 2017.
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