At least 50% of the buyers for McLaren Group's MP4-12C supercar are expected to come from Europe, according to McLaren Automotive Managing Director Antony Sheriff.
As the demand for luxury vehicles is once again on the rise, McLaren has scheduled a 50-venue promotional tour for its 12C in Germany that starts on June 17.
The 12C, which rivals the Ferrari, is priced at about 150,000 pounds ($227,000). McLaren plans to produce 1,000 units next year but already, it has received about 2,500 expressions of interest. This pushes the waiting list to almost a year.
In an interview at McLaren's base in Woking, near London, Sheriff said that many might think that it isn't the right time to own this type of a car but it's apparent from the interest the 12C has gotten that many people are "growing a bit sick of self- imposed austerity."
He expects that Britain and Germany will lead European sales; a third of orders will be from the US; and the rest from Asia and the Middle East.
McLaren, which is famous for having the most successful Formula One racing team after Ferrari, will open 35 global dealerships in 2011 and plans to increase this number to at least 70 by 2015 as the model range expands. Sheriff also forecasts that luxury and sports-car sales will climb by 35% this year.
Serving as the heart of the new 12C is the Carbon MonoCell. McLaren actually pioneered the use of carbon composite in its 1981 Formula 1 MP4/1 model. Other F1 teams soon followed this innovation. McLaren was the first to employ carbon fiber in road cars with the 1993 McLaren F1. Then, the carmaker built on this experience by giving the SLR a carbon fiber chassis and body, all done to the same standards, but in higher volumes.
So far, only the most expensive exotic cars are underpinned by a carbon chassis. This is because complexity of carbon fiber chassis design and build has driven the cost to high that only the super-rich could afford.
Now, the 12C is changing as it makes carbon composite more affordable by engineering its chassis as a one-piece molding. This marks the first time that a carbon chassis is produced in this manner, while still bringing its native traits like light weight, high strength and torsional rigidity, as well as longevity.
Furthermore, the Carbon MonoCell of the 12C has been designed to enable an overall narrower structure. This allows the new 12C to become a true compact car that could be easily positioned on the road as well as be more rewarding to drive.
Carbon technology isn't the only trait that makes the 12C distinct in its class – it also offers the highest specific power output as well as incredible torque-to-weight ratios. Likewise, the new 12C is equipped with the Proactive Chassis Control system, allowing the car to deliver superb levels handling and ride comfort as well as outstanding occupant packaging.
According to Antony Sheriff, the 12C is allowing McLaren to redefine the relationship between performance and practicality, as well as between performance and efficiency, while achieving leading positions in both. He remarked that the carmaker designed the 12C from the inside out, with the car designed 'for a reason.'
Sheriff quipped that the efficiency of the 12C’s power delivery clearly illustrates its special qualities. He noted that with a power output of around 600hp and low carbon dioxide emission levels, the 12C delivers the highest horsepower-to-CO2 ratio of any car on the market with an internal combustion engine, including petrol and diesel hybrids.