McLaren didn't comment on the future need to raise more cash, but CEO Mike Flewitt told Automotive News in 2013 that the current business plan runs to 2019. McLaren Automotive's largest shareholder is the investment arm of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
McLaren publicly has said there are no plans for a cheaper car. It has ruled out making crossovers, in contrast to fellow British luxury brands Bentley, Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce. It also is restricted to a maximum capacity of 5,500 vehicles at the factory opened in 2011 on the striking but cramped Woking site.
McLaren has been particularly aggressive in the speed with which it launches new models. The 12C lasted just two years before it was replaced by the more expensive 650S in 2014. Of the 3,000 cars the company expects to build this year, 2,000 will be the new Sports Series and about 750 will be a hotter version of the 650S dubbed the 675LT, named for the "Longtail" variant of the F1 road car. This special edition is limited to 500 vehicles, as is the 675LT Spider, and is sold out.
Meanwhile, in 2017, the 570S Spider will be launched, and in the second quarter of this year, another variant of the entry Sports Series will be unveiled, possibly at the New York show again.
"The fresher you keep the produce, the more you can keep your price up," Flewitt told journalists at last year's Geneva auto show.
The company also has been careful to involve its customers as much as possible. After the sudden death of the 12C, Flewitt wrote to customers explaining why McLaren had killed the model and offering them for free the same software upgrades the new 650S received, fearing they'd feel abandoned.
"The external perception is that McLaren is cold and obsessive, but buyers find we're very customer-focused, and we try to get as close as possible to them," said Nash, who was at Rolls-Royce before joining McLaren in 2014. He says the customers are very similar for the two brands: "What they want, they'd better get."
He calculates customers, on average, start thinking about trading in 18 months after buying. Right now, their expectations are being met. Whether that continues depends on McLaren's ability to keep freshening the range. If not, the competition is moving fast, a reborn Aston Martin for one.
With seven bankruptcies over its life, Aston offers McLaren a salutary lesson on how tough the luxury market can get. Said IHS' Fletcher: "In this sector, the highs are high, but the lows can be very low indeed."