Let the race be­gin

McLaren goes it alone in the su­per­car stakes, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels -

THE same fight that has put the fire into For­mula One for more than two decades will ig­nite on Aus­tralian roads this year when McLaren goes up against Fer­rari.

The Bri­tish grand prix com­pany is close to rolling its first in-house su­per­car on to the road, start­ing a new era in McLaren’s his­tory and sev­er­ing its last ties with Mercedes-Benz and the ill-fated Mercedes-McLaren SLR project.

McLaren al­ready has more than a dozen Aus­tralian or­ders for its all-new MP4-12C coupe, de­spite an un­known pedi­gree and a $500,000-ish price.

The su­per-quick 12C coupe is into fi­nal test­ing in Europe and, with a global sales roll­out set for the sec­ond half of this year, it has part­nered with Triv­ett Pres­tige to han­dle its busi­ness in Aus­tralia.

Triv­ett al­ready holds the agen­cies for Rolls-Royce and As­ton Martin in a di­verse port­fo­lio that in­cludes Har­ley-Davidson mo­tor­cy­cles and the 400km/h Bu­gatti Vey­ron.

The McLaren plan be­gins this year in Syd­ney but, as the Bri­tish line-up grows, Triv­ett ex­pects to grow ev­ery­thing in the op­er­a­tion.

‘‘The first show­room in Syd­ney will be open­ing around July, to be fol­lowed next year in Mel­bourne and then in other cap­i­tal cities as ap­pro­pri­ate,’’ said Triv­ett ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Greg Dun­can.

He re­ports strong in­ter­est in the car with firm or­ders for a num­ber of cars, with the first de­liv­er­ies due in Novem­ber. ‘‘There are ap­prox­i­mately 15 and grow­ing,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s very strong in­ter­est in the car,’’ Dun­can says.

‘‘The Aus­tralian price has not yet been con­firmed, but I an­tic­i­pate it will not only will it per­form bet­ter but it will be more ex­clu­sive.’’ Even so, McLaren in­tends to grow quickly.

It is fin­ish­ing con­struc­tion of a man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tion out­side London and is work­ing on two mod­els to fol­low the MP4-12C.

‘‘McLaren . . . will build up to 1000 12Cs in its first full year and this will in­crease to around 4000 McLarens of all mod­els an­nu­ally,’’ Dun­can says.

‘‘So the long term looks very bright for the Aus­tralian mar­ket.’’

Yours for about half a mil­lion: the McLaren MP4-12C.

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