We brought you news back in January that Ron Dennis was stepping down from leading the McLaren F1 team to concentrate on the development of McLaren’s car building ambitions. And at a news conference at McLaren’s headquarters today we got some official news on the ambitious plans McLaren has.
The whole road car business at McLaren is to be made an independent company – McLaren Automotive – and is aiming to produce 1,000 cars a year by 2011 and 4,000 a year by 2015. McLaren plans that the cars they produce will be more exclusive, and more expensive, than the competition from Italy. The ball will start rolling with the McLaren P11, a car aimed squarely at the F430/Gallardo market. Following on from that will be the McLaren P8 which is aimed at the 911 Turbo level, and finally the replacement for the McLaren F1 will arrive – with probably no comparable competitor.
Having stepped down from Team Boss at McLaren F1, Ron Dennis is now handing over the reins of McLaren Racing to Martin Whitmarsh (with effect from 1st June). Ron will of course remain a 15% shareholder in McLaren Group (along with Mercedes, the Bahrainis and Mansour Ojjeh), but his future plans revolve around the road car business.
The new McLaren Automotive aims to raise £250 million to fund the project, for a 49% stake. Credit Suisse are on the case. The new project will need a new manufacturing facility (no word yet on where that will be) and will create some 800 jobs.
Ambitious plans indeed from McLaren. But if the McLaren F1 is anything to go by, and Ron Dennis and his team can come up with cars that even come close to what they achieved with the F1, I rather think that Ferrari and Lamborghini will be starting to wonder how on earth they are ever going to maintain the profits they’ve enjoyed in the last few years.
We once showed the Italians how to make a supercar. It looks like we’re about to do it again. The Brits are back!