October 21, 2014

Are the McLaren MP4-12C problems scaring buyers?

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C - are problems hurting sales?

We’re hearing that the problems McLaren are having with the MP4-12C are scaring buyers off the new car from McLaren.


All cars have teething problems. And the new McLaren MP4-12C – despite McLaren’s renowned meticulous attention to detail – is no different.

McLaren are trying hard to fix the issues with the MP4-12C, and McLaren boss Ron Dennis has taken to his laptop to churn out a letter of apology to those MP4-12C owners who feel they’ve been let down after spending £200k on perhaps the most anticipated car of 2011.

We’re sure the issues can be fixed, but the problem for McLaren is probably the same one facing all smaller car makers – making a variety of software from different providers work nicely together.

That’s not a problem for motoring behomoths like Mercedes or Toyota, where all systems are designed in-house to work together from the off, thanks to their huge in-house R&D.

But for smaller makers, the problem is sourcing the software and then trying to stitch it together to present as a single working ensemble – despite it all being written by different software providers.

We know, for example, that Jaguar had issues making everything work together properly on the new XJ, so if a company the size of Jaguar Land Rover had those issues, it’s no surprise that McLaren do too.

More worrying than trying to develop a workable fix is the effect the problems are having not just on existing MP4-12C owners, but those who were considering jumping in to the new McLaren.

A conversation this morning with a McLaren MP4-12C owner on these issues (when the comment ‘This is a complete balls-ache’ was attributed to a well know McLaren boss over the MP4-12C’s issues) did get us wondering how sales are faring under the reliability cloud.

It didn’t take us many phone calls to establish that there are at least four unsold 12Cs  floating around in the UK – and that’s just in ten minutes on the task – and that, with a bit of arm twisting, you could have one this week for list price.

We also learnt that there are at least three MP4-12Cs sat in Hong Kong without any potential buyers on the horizon, and that the general consensus is that things will stay that way until the problems with the McLaren are fixed.

Unfortuantely, it also seems that the probelms with the McLaren may also have put buyers off the car altogether, with many who were planning on experienceing the MP4-12C jumping in to other cars instead.

We don’t need to tell you which ‘other’ car that is.

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  1. I certainly would be thinking hard about taking or keeping an MP4-12C under these circumstances. But then any new car from a small car maker is always best avoided for the first year of production.

    Didn’t the early Ferrari 458s spontaniously combust?

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