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McLaren comes to Geneva

The McLaren MP4-12C is powered by a 3.8L, V8 twin-turbo engine producing around 600bhp.The McLaren MP4-12C is powered by a 3.8L, V8 twin-turbo engine producing around 600bhp.GENEVA, Nov 19 — McLaren officially opened its first Geneva showroom last week, the second Swiss showroom for the supercar maker.

Situated at Rue du Grand-Pré 2 and overseen by Autobritt Grand-Pré, it is the second official showroom in the country following the launch of a Zurich store in September 2011.

It brings the total number of McLaren showrooms up to 17 in Europe and 38 worldwide — well behind Ferrari or Lamborghini but McLaren has only been building supercars in any numbers for two years, making the company’s automotive arm 63 years younger than Ferrari and 37 years younger than Lamborghini.

McLaren may be able to draw on over 20 years’ of supercar experience but, until 2010, the vehicles it produced, the era-defining McLaren F1 and the Mercedes McLaren SLR were on a tiny scale — only 106 F1s were ever built. Also, unlike its closest competitors, it can’t and doesn’t turn to a parent company such as Fiat or Audi for interior fittings or components.

Unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the P1 will go into production next year.Unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the P1 will go into production next year.As company spokesperson Dave Eden explains, the dedicated team based in Woking, UK currently produces eight cars a day, each hand-built to owner specification, and even though it is currently completing 1200-1500 cars a year, there is a six-month waiting list.

“We have a duty to our customers to ensure that their McLarens remain exclusive and that our cars retain their value,” he says. The current model lineup comprises the 12C and the 12C Spider, but the company has ambitious plans to bring a new model to market every year.

“The next will be the McLaren P1, which we debuted at the Paris Motor Show and it will go on sale alongside our existing range,” says Eden.

In little more than a year, McLaren has become a global luxury car producer. In June 2011 the company opened its first retailer (based in the UK) and sold the first 12C supercar.

Today, sales of the 12C have passed the 1000 mark, it has opened a dedicated production centre, launched a special operations department for making bespoke orders, and is building a global dealer network that already spans Europe, the US, the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions.

“Our plan isn’t to have a McLaren retailer in every city. We want to serve our existing and potential customer base. There are a huge number of potential partners for extending the network, but we have to make certain that our partners are culturally aligned, with an understanding of the McLaren brand, heritage and customers.

“There is a real vetting process and we have a team here focused on identifying the right people,” says Eden. — AFP/Relaxnews

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