McLaren in pact with dealers for future models

The percentage of sales McLaren Automotive expects from the Middle East. (REUTERS)

McLaren Automotive, a British automotive manufacturer of high performance vehicles, has reached deals in the UAE and the Gulf to appoint new dealers for its upcoming cars, which will hit the region's roads in April next year, a senior company official said yesterday.

Ian Gorsuch, Regional Director for Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific at McLaren Automotive, said the company will announce the new dealers next week and most of the distributors were already dealing in high-end cars of other brands.

The company projected the Middle East will contribute around 20 per cent of its sales. Gorsuch said 1,600 people have made booking for the MP4-12C model, of which the company intends to produce only 1,000 units. The car will be priced at $250,000 (Dh917,500).

The Formula One carmaker will have two showrooms and service centres in the UAE – one each in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Ron Dennis, McLaren Automotive's Executive Chairman, said last week that the company will set up 35 dealers in the next two to three months – initially in Europe and the US, and then in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere.

Gorsuch said the company is holding talks with investors to expand its shareholder base. He said the talks are at the advanced stage and a deal will be reached in the next three months time.

McLaren's current shareholders are Bahrain-based sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat Holding Company, Mansour Ojjeh's TAG Group and Dennis.

"The company has been funded on equity mainly backed by chairman Ron Dennis and Mumtakalat. The decision on new shareholders will be taken looking at long-term future of the company rather than the short-term. The company has zero debt," Gorsuch added.

Media reports said last week that the McLaren group is talking to unnamed Middle Eastern investors about taking a 48 per cent stake in the new road-car company.

Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments last year bought 96.4 million shares in German carmaker Daimler for $2.7 billion.


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