TOKYO (Bloomberg) -- British supercar maker McLaren plans to have eight dealerships in China by early 2014 as the automaker joins rivals including Ferrari and Lamborghini in betting on rising demand in the world's fastest growing major economy.
The maker of the carbon-fiber MP4-12C, which costs 168,500 pounds (208,724 euros) in the UK, plans to sell 100 to 150 of the 592-horsepower coupes in the first 12 months after opening an initial four dealerships in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu, said Ian Gorsuch, McLaren's Asia Pacific director. The first China showrooms will be added by mid-2013 with four more opening in 2014, he added.
McLaren, the most successful Formula One racing team after Ferrari, said in June 2011 it will spend $1 billion to unveil 13 models and variants in the coming years to lure buyers from rivals Ferrari and Lamborghini.
The carmaker, which has opened 35 showrooms in 19 markets, including Japan, in the past year, is holding off on an immediate push into China until it has more production, Gorsuch said.
"We chose the high brand-building markets such as Japan, and once we get that established we'll start expansion [in other parts of Asia]," Gorsuch said Tuesday in an interview after a press briefing in Tokyo. "We don't have enough production; that's why we don't have China from the start," he said.
Luxury car demand is continuing to rise in China as economic growth increases wealth. It's the second-largest market for Ferrari and Lamborghini, and the largest for British ultra-luxury brand Bentley.
McLaren has also opened showrooms in Hong Kong and Singapore this year.