The first batches of McLaren MP4-12C supercars will be assembled at the company’s Technical Centre in Woking if a planned new factory can’t be built in time.
A contingency plan is being drawn up because the first customer cars are due to be delivered in November next year, even though work on the new plant has yet to start.
McLaren received planning permission a couple of weeks ago for a new 18,000sq ft factory, which is due to be built close to its Woking HQ.
But there are doubts whether the new factory can be finished in time. Its construction will be a huge job because it is partially below ground level.
Once the shell is complete, machinery will need to be tested, staff trained and production methods honed to a high standard on pre-production cars from late next summer. That gives McLaren just 11 months to construct and fit out the building.
“We’re looking at whether the first cars can be built with the current network of McLaren facilities,” said the company.
McLaren could use the assembly area in the MTC where it has been building Mercedes SLRs. Between two and three cars a day can be assembled there. That would tide McLaren over until the economy recovers in 2011/12, when the brand new plant could be on stream.
Ultimately McLaren needs a new factory to fulfil its ambitions of making 4500 supercars a year, a similar level to Ferrari, although this is unlikely to be reached until 2015/16, when a range of at least three MP4 variants is planned.