McLaren's flagship P1 helped drive company turnover up by 67 per cent in 2014
McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt ruled out a future SUV model in no uncertain terms
McLaren saw its sales, turnover and profits rise last year as the UK-based sports car maker banked an operating profit (before tax) of £20.7 million and recorded margins of 4.4%.
The company claims its performance is "considered unprecedented in today’s motor industry” because brand sales only began four years ago.
In 2014, the company sold 1649 vehicles, up 18% on 2013, when 1400 cars were sold. Of those, 248 were P1s, which retailed from £866,000. However, three-quarters of the P1s were specified highly enough to drive the average purchase price beyond £1m.
This is thought to account for the big jump in McLaren’s 2014 turnover, which rose to £475m from £285m in 2013. It also drove operating profit up by 68%, from £12.3m to £20.7m.
Although profits remain modest in automotive terms, investment in research and development is rising steadily, according to the company. McLaren invested £67m in 2013 and £91.8m in 2014. This year the investment is expected to rise to £120m, or some 20% of the company turnover.
It’s an unusually high percentage for the automotive industry, although it reflects the considerable investment in the new Sports Series range, which is due to go into production later this year.
In the medium term, McLaren says it will drive up sales to around 4000 units by 2017 and 4200 in the two subsequent years. This will be achieved by rolling out at least six different models.
Company sources say the company expects to sell around 2500 Sports Series models annually and 1500 Super Series models.
The balance is expected to be made up of very limited-production Ultimate Series models.
Ovrall production at McLaren's Woking HQ is expected to be capped at about 4000 units per year for the foreseeable future, a level that is seen as sustainable over time.
McLaren chief executive officer Mike Flewitt also insisted that McLaren would never consider building an SUV, "no matter what competitors might be doing".