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McLaren looks to grow in Australia

Grand time: McLaren issued this teaser picture of its “McLaren of grand tourers”, which is one of 18 new models on the launch pad from the British marque by 2025.

Britain’s McLaren eyes new dealerships as it expands range and operations

14 Mar 2019

MCLAREN Automotive is considering expanding its three-dealership sales network and support services in Australia as it increases its model line-up over the next five years, potentially beyond those of its well-established rivals such as Ferrari and Lamborghini.


The British marque has an unnamed, all-new grand tourer ready for unveiling in the next few months when it will join two fresh open-top Spiders – the 720S and 600LT – that will go on sale in Australia this year.


The two Spiders will take the local line-up to 10 – one more than the current model list of Lamborghini and two more than Ferrari.


At least one of the limited-edition 400km/h-plus Speedtails is also destined for Australia out of a global run of just 106.


These models will be followed by a number of petrol-electric hybrid sportscars that will appear before 2025 under McLaren’s Track 25 strategy.


So far, four of the 18 new models under the Track 25 plan have been shown or teased, leaving plenty of room for new models that will exclude SUVs and all-electric cars, as least under the current plan.


Just weeks into his new role as McLaren’s head of Asia Pacific, Singapore-based Rob Pritchard said at the Australian unveiling of the 720S Spider in Melbourne this week that despite the model expansion, McLaren was being careful not to overlap models.


“With every model we are introducing we are very careful about the place it occupies in the market,” he said. “We are very careful not to have overlaps and so on, so the car clearly has its own position. You can see that today (with the 720S Spider).”


Mr Pritchard said McLaren currently had sales “partners” in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast in Australia, as well as one in Auckland in New Zealand.


He said he had toured all of these dealerships when he was on an induction tour for his new role a few weeks ago.


“I think we are very happy with the partners here,” he said. “They are doing some really good things, some great things from an ownership perspective as well.


“And that is really important for McLaren retail, because that resonates with our customer base.”


But Mr Pritchard indicated that further dealership appointments were being considered.


“In our Track 25 plan that effectively lays out the milestones for our growth, we have to look at opportunities where it is the right thing to do but being very mindful that we pick the right locations to service the McLaren brand in the right way,” he said.


Asked about McLaren residual prices that have been a sore point with some owners of early McLaren cars that had depreciated faster than rivals, Mr Pritchard said some of the McLaren models such as the P1 and newer 600LT had exceptional residual values.


But he said McLaren was mindful of the overall residual value situation which was not surprising given the relatively young age of the company compared with the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche.


Mr Pritchard said programs such as a qualified used-car program would help this situation.


“We are also looking at things such as financial services and how that can support the market here,” he said. “All these things we are looking at and making progress.”


Last year, McLaren sold 88 cars in Australia, a drop of 24 per cent over 2017.


By contrast, Ferrari sales rose 14 per cent to 241 units, and Lamborghini’s went up almost 10 per cent, to 124 units.


Porsche’s passenger car-sales (excluding SUVs) jumped 6.3 per cent, to 951 vehicles.


Australia is the seventh largest market in the McLaren world, with the United States leading the rankings.


Mr Pritchard was cautious when asked about the upcoming grand tourer to be unveiled by McLaren, saying only that more information would be announced in coming months and that it would be the “consummate continent-crosser”.


McLaren confirmed the “McLaren of grand tourers” at the recent Geneva motor show, saying it would be the fastest, sportiest and “most useable” car in its class, sharing technology with the Speedtail announced last year.


The name will be announced soon, along with further details.

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