DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC

McLaren celebrates 1 and 1,000

Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
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McLaren Automotive celebrates one and 1,000 today. The one is for the first anniversary of the opening of the British supercar maker's first dealership to retail the MP4-12C. The 1,000 is for reaching its goal of delivering that many MP4-12Cs to new customers around the world during its inaugural year of commercial operation.

"It's been a year of great successes and great challenges but overcoming those challenges has been very rewarding," McLaren Sales and Marketing Director Greg Levine said.

Levine declined to provide a sales target for year two because of the economic instability hitting Europe and other parts of the world.

"Given the volatility in the market, I think a lot of people are not really sure what 2013 is going to bring," he said.

Levine, however, believes that McLaren is poised to keep growing as it adds dealers and models.

He said the aim is to increase McLaren's retail network to 70 stores by mid-decade from 35 now. Those stores will be needed to keep up with a planned expansion of the brand's product lineup to 13 models and variants in the years to come.

When asked whether one of those future models would be an SUV, as is the case at fellow British brand Bentley, Levine said: "It's never ever been mentioned within these walls."

He said McLaren is laser focused on building carbon-fiber sports cars that will one day spark a dramatic shift in the minds of next-generation customers.

"If you go to a playground today in Munich and ask a bunch of boys, 'What car do you want when you're older?' They're going to say all of our competitor brands," Levine said. "The vision that I am setting for the team is that in 10 to 15 years, you go to that same playground and you ask the little boys what car they want when they're older, and they say 'McLaren.' Then we would have done it."

Given the brand's strong start thus far, its chances of achieving that goal appear to be a lot better than one and 1,000.

You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at dbolduc@crain.com.

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