McLaren Automotive completed its 10,000th sports car last December, only five years after the first rolled out of its hi-tech production centre. The Surrey-based manufacturer sold 3,286 vehicles during 2016, with demand from North America and Europe helping double profits to £65.8m on sales of £649.8m, up 44% from 2015.
The company is ranked on these sales, however in July it merged with McLaren Technology Group, which owns the Formula One team, to form McLaren Group. The group then raised £564m in a bond offering, £200m of which was used to buy out former chairman Ron Dennis, 70. This left Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund with a 63% shareholding, Luxemburg’s Tag investment group with 16% and minority shareholders with the remainder. The group said its combined sales were almost £900m in 2016.
The automotive company’s chief executive, Mike Flewitt, 55, has said by 2022 it plans to release 15 new models and derivatives, and incorporate hybrid technology in half of its cars. He has pledged £1bn for research and development over that period.
McLaren employs about 1,600 people and in February announced plans for the construction of a £50m factory in Sheffield. It is due to open in 2020 and is expected to create a further 200 jobs. Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre will collaborate with the company to develop processes to make its carbon-fibre chassis at the facility.
Despite its focus on technology, McLaren Automotive has not embraced mass production, instead preferring a handcrafted approach — the hallmark of luxury. It produces up to 20 cars a day, ranging in price from £128,000 to £2m.
In March, McLaren launched the 720S. Capable of 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds, it sold out for the year after 1,500 orders were placed. With such high demand and four successive years of profitability, the automotive company shows no sign of slowing down.
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