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McLaren returns serve at Ferrari

Hot competition: Ferrari has been vocal about McLaren's pricing structure, but its new 488 GTB is only slightly more expensive than the closely matched 650S.

Our prices are honest, says McLaren in response to Ferrari criticism

McLaren logo12 Aug 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER

MCLAREN has fired back at rival Ferrari over recent claims by the Italian supercar-maker that McLaren had alienated its customers by slashing the MP4-12C price by about $100,000 in 2013.

The British company says existing customers had been compensated for the difference when the car’s price had been cut to “honest” levels due to exchange rate fluctuations.

Speaking at the Australian launch of the sold-out 675LT, McLaren Asia Pacific regional director David McIntyre told GoAuto the price adjustment was the right thing to do for its customers.

“We are not here to talk about Ferrari, but I'm surprised that somebody else spends so much time talking about McLaren,” he said.

“The Australian market for a long time has been a high-margin market, and I think the McLaren pricing was adjusted due to some exchange rate shifts. We wanted to deliver an honest price to our customers.” Mr McIntyre said Ferrari's suggestion that customers were upset was unfounded and that the company had responded quickly following the price reduction to ensure its customers felt valued and remained loyal.

“For those customers who had already bought a 12C we then offered them a rebate to buy a new car and almost all of them immediately ordered a 12C Spider,” he said. “We made sure that we compensated them for the price difference. That issue is a non-issue.” As GoAuto reported last month, Ferrari Australasia president and CEO Herbert Appleroth said Ferrari “absolutely did not and do not want to do what our competition does” on pricing.

“Fundamentally, the first thing we have to do is to protect our customer,” he said. “And reducing the retail price of your car mid-model is just upsetting the resale value of your cars and upsetting all the existing customers who bought that car.

“That is something that you won’t see from Ferrari.” While Ferrari criticised McLaren's price reductions, the Italian car-maker has also significantly reduced the price of its mid-engined model.

Priced from $469,888 before on-road costs, the recently launched 488 GTB is $55,000 cheaper than the outgoing 458 Italia – a move it too says is as a result of exchange rate fluctuations.

The new Ferrari is just $10,638 more expensive than the McLaren 650S that offers almost identical performance.

Mr McIntyre would not refer to McLaren's competitors by name but said the blossoming range had clear target brands in its sights, and that the new Sports Series would offer a more tempting proposition than “German sportscars”.

“Clearly with the Super Series – 650S and 675LT – we are selling to owners of Italian supercars,” he said. “With the Sports Series we are quite clearly aiming at German sportscars.

“There are a number of customers who bought the mid-range of these German sportscars but they didn't buy the top end because it's still the same body shape. But they will buy a McLaren at that price and I think that's our opportunity.

“If you think of a carbon-fibre structure car with a rearward engine, dihedral doors … really it’s a supercar experience in the sportscar segment.” When they arrive next year, the 570S and 540C will offer a twin-turbocharged, mid-mounted V8 in a carbon-fibre MonoCell. Zero to 100km/h acceleration will be in the region of 3.2-seconds, while driveaway pricing will be from $408,000 and $350,00 respectively.

Mr McIntyre explained that the company's long history in carbon-fibre cars had progressively driven production costs down, and a similar vehicle produced by one of its rivals would command significantly higher costs.

“We are able to do that where others can’t,” he said. “The carbon-fibre technology that we have in-house allows us to transfer that technology across the range, where as other manufacturers would have to outsource that technology and develop a whole new platform.

“The point is we can do it and they can’t.”

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