Let the race begin
McLaren goes it alone in the supercar stakes, writes Paul Gover
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.