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Thu 18 Mar 2010 06:01 PM

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McLaren eyes Mideast launch of new supercar in 2011

McLaren Automotive eyes 100-200 MP4-12c supercars sales in Gulf next year – MD.

McLaren eyes Mideast launch of new supercar in 2011

The Gulf will account for between ten and twenty percent of sales of the newly unveiled MP4-12C supercar, McLaren Automotive managing director Anthony Sherrif said on Thursday as the car was unveiled to the media.

Speaking at the company’s ultra-modern headquarters in the English countyside, Sheriff said: “We want to launch in the Middle East before the summer of 2011. We will be present in the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. We would expect to sell in the Middle East region somewhere between ten and twenty percent of our volumes.”

In the first year of production Sherrif said McLaren Automotive expected to manufacture a thousand of the cars, which have a revolutionary one-piece carbon fibre chassis and can travel from 0-200kph in under ten seconds. They will sell for around $250,000 each.

If demand proves sufficient the number of cars manufactured annually could quadruple, he added.

“It is not our desire to continually ramp up production. We will have to look at what the demand is. I think typically it would be an acceptable solution to have a waiting list of a year or so. If it started to become more than that, we would have to address it. It would be a very nice problem to have,” he said.

Moments before the car was unveiled by McLaren F1 team drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, company Chairman Ron Dennis said the car’s production was intended to improve McLaren’s durability as a racing team.

“There are some frightening statistics which have burned into my brain over the last few years – the most frightening being that since 1966 when McLaren first entered Formula 1, 106 F1 teams have come and gone. Therefore, for me, staying exclusively a Formula One team is almost certainly going to lead to extinction. So I think there is an imperative need to broaden the commercial basis of this company. This is the logical next step,” he said.

McLaren Automotive, which has been formed to make and sell the MP4-12C cars would not be a short term concern, he added.

“We know there have been many small car companies that have come and gone. We are not going to be one of them. We are here to stay,” he said.

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