In an exclusive interview, McLaren’s head of network development, David Lumley-Wood, said he would be in a position to announce who has been selected in the next 10 to 12 weeks.
‘We’re progressing very well and interest remains to be very strong from potential partners,’ said Lumley-Wood.
‘We’ll start off with a small number of dealers, probably around three and then as the network viability grows we’ll add more.
‘Our challenge actually is the fact we have a low number of cars so we have to ration them out between the countries and make sure every dealer is viable.
‘We’re now close to finalising arrangements with the first wave of dealers. They are very positive about what we are doing.’
Chairman Ron Dennis added that some retailers in the worldwide network had already been picked, but said they were still analysing the business plans of others.
Some 600 retailers around the world expressed interest in taking on the McLaren franchise. That was short-listed down to 150 and then 70 were asked for full business plans. From that, just 35 were selected to be rolled out in the first wave of dealers.
FORMULA 1 STARS
Lumley-Wood spoke to Car Dealer at the official unveiling to the world’s press of the MP4-12C supercar.
World champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were on hand to rip off the covers along with Ron Dennis and Antony Sheriff, the McLaren Automotive MD.
Dennis explained dealers would be expected to ‘revolutionise the buyer experience using technology and common sense’.
‘We want McLaren buyers to have the best-ever retailer experience,’ Sheriff added. ‘It will be the best, because for McLaren, good enough is not good.’
Currently McLaren is taking serious expressions of interest in the £170,000 MP4-12C on its website – of which its had 1,700 for the first year’s allocation of 1,000 cars. Once the network is set up these potential customers will be passed on to dealers.
Dennis also explained how every McLaren dealer will be expected to stock every serviceable part for the 12C before they even start selling cars.
This is so customers can always have their cars fixed and serviced when they want. These parts would then be ordered automatically for dealers when they had been used.
‘The 12C is good news for McLaren, good news for UK PLC and car enthusiasts everywhere – and of course good news for me,’ said Dennis.
‘We will create a global network of the world’s best retailers who will sell cars in the world’s best markets.
‘McLaren will set new targets for the ownership experience. The 12C will appeal to existing performance car owners and people not yet tempted by performance car ownership.
‘And the 12C is just the first in our range. We have two other cars already in development. This is not a one stop shop.’
By JAMES BAGGOTT