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McLaren eyes bigger 2017

Hot property: More affordable models such as the Sports Series offerings have boosted McLaren sales in 2016 and the popularity is set to continue on into 2017 says the iconic car-maker.

Flourishing Sports and Super Series models to push McLaren sales past 100 in 2017

McLaren logo8 Feb 2017

By DANIEL GARDNER

MCLAREN is planning for another bumper year in 2017 in Australia following a personal best in 2016 with 93 sales, driven by an expanding Sports Series range and second-generation Super Series line-up.

While the British high-performance car-maker is keeping exact forecasts close to its chest for now, the company has confirmed that it is only just getting started when it comes to Australian sales and its growth into the local high-end sportscar market.

Speaking at the Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race last week, McLaren Automotive Asia Pacific managing director George Biggs told GoAuto that the final 2016 tally was a start point given its bolstering model line-up, and that there is no end in sight for the strong sales momentum.

“Do I think that will continue? Absolutely,” he said. “This type of number is a minimum of where we should be as a brand with Super and Sports.

“We have a customer base now that is allowing us to continue the confidence, and support that growth for the future.”

From a range of just one model and single digit monthly sales only three years ago, the company has bounded on to a diverse range that peaked at six options before the 675LT sold out last year and a December tally of 30 in 2016.

At least one more Sports Series model is expected to arrive this year in the form of a Spider convertible, but Mr Biggs said growth was hardest to forecast for the new Super Series family – the first time in its history that it has produced a second generation of any family.

“Do I think we will beat this year’s (2016) number? Yes I do, but by what percentage will be largely a response to the second generation of Super Series.”

It is understood that the first Super Series car to arrive will continue the established nomenclature system but with the advent of a new 720S badge, which would imply a power output in the region of 530kW (720 horsepower) and a possible hybrid powertrain.

Below the Super Series, the Sports Series range offers the 570S, 570GT and most affordable 540C and Mr Biggs predicted the McLaren entry point to produce the greatest volume for the year, with Australians most drawn to the 570S performance champ.

“Sports series will certainly be the larger volume product. At the moment we’ve only just brought the GT to Australia. I imagine here it will be more 570 but also 540.”

Mr Biggs explained that other markets including the UK and Europe had warmed to the 570GT which offers more luggage space and a more comfort-focused ride for grand touring, but Australian tastes favoured the outright performance halo models.

Until the arrival of cars such as the $325,000 before on-road costs 540C, the car-maker commanded heftier prices for its sportscars and Mr Biggs explained that the company was still working to educate potential customers that the range is now more affordable.

“We’re slowly getting round to the process of how we start to build that awareness that a McLaren isn’t just a hypercar and is actually a car that quite a few people can actually own.”

With the strong year-on-year growth Australia is now positioned in the top seven global markets for overall McLaren sales and while Mr Biggs said it was unlikely to encroach on the top three, which includes Japan where it sold about 200 cars last year, local sales per capita were among the highest.

“Australia has firmly established itself in the top seven markets for us and that’s based on retail, wholesale and future. Do I see it growing into the top three? No but that’s simply because of the population.”

With a firm focus on the year ahead, McLaren is not resting on its laurels and Mr Biggs said that the previous year’s success was down to a strong line-up and network rather than unsustainable pushing for volume.

“It was a fantastic year for us and we are working on demand-led growth. We’re working with the best partners in the best areas and putting things in place that allow our customers to enjoy the products that we’ve got.

“Super Series was extremely well received and then the Sports Series has had a fantastic response. We’ve been lead by that rather than us doing anything overly special, apart from providing the conditions around the business to make sure that achieves its growth and momentum.”

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