Here at the launch of the McLaren MP4-12C it’s easy to forget that we’re not just at the launch of the new supercar, but also a new car company.

So maybe it’s worth putting aside what we think of the looks of the car (a bit bland is my personal view) or whether the impressive technology it has will be enough to threaten the tough competition that Ferrari, Lamborghini and Mercedes represent.  And let's forget speculation on how good or bad it will be to drive, or even whether the McLaren brand has the provenenace with road cars, or even demonstrates the passion to compete with such illustrious rivals.

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What I keep thinking about - whatever we end up thinking of the car, or whether it’s a commercial success - is that Ron Dennis and the team do deserve some recognition for launching a new independent car company on this scale. When was the last time this happened? Even more poignantly, when was the last time it happened in the UK?

In the spring of 2011 an all-new factory will open in Woking and a 1000 cars a year will initially start rolling off the line. By then a global network of dealers will be in place and the MP4-12Cs will start finding homes.

Ron Dennis is predictably bullish about the future too. "We know that lots of car companies have come and gone, and we’re not going to be one of them. We’re here to stay," he said.

I don’t yet know what the car is like  - or what the two other cars in development will be like. But Dennis can be truly proud of forming a new car company and it’s got to be good for the UK’s global engineering reputation.