Five things we learned from McLaren's 2014 results

Published: 26 June 2015

► McLaren's 2014 financial results
► Sales up to record 1649 supercars
► Pre-tax profits of £15m, up from £5m

McLaren Automotive has announced its financial results for 2014 - and revenues and profits are growing, even if their heads are not. 'Humble' CEO Mike Flewitt took us on a whistlestop tour of the six-year-old company's recent history, as he reflected on a second year of profitability, almost four years to the day after the first customer 12C was delivered in London.

1) There are more and more Maccas out there

McLaren Automotive's key KPIs are heading in the right direction. The Woking supercar start-up delivered 1649 cars to customers in 2014, up 18% on the 1395 units in 2013. To give some context, Lamborghini customers snapped up a record 2530 supercars last year, up 19% on '13. But Lambo has almost twice the number of McLaren's 71 dealers, and is present in 48 markets to McLaren's 30. North America remains McLaren's biggest market, with 35% of sales, followed by Asia-Pacific (30%), then Europe with 25%.

2) P1 supercar has turbocharged profits and awareness

In 2014, McLaren generated a pre-tax profit of £15m, on £475m turnover; the previous year's figures were £4.5m and £285m respectively. '248 of our 1649 cars were P1s, which had a significant impact on our revenues,' said boss Flewitt. The £866k hybrid hypercar 'showed what we are technically capable of: in my opinion we produced the greatest driver's car there is, better than Porsche or Ferrari. It also did an excellent communication job, as people read and heard about the P1 and understood what McLaren is trying to do.' CAR magazine favoured LaFerrari over P1 in its comparison test, but that's akin to giving Mozart the nod over Beethoven: they're both a bit special...

3) You gotta keep the model range fresh

'You have to put technically advanced, new product in the marketplace: let them age, demand falls and you haven't got the money to invest in the next generation,' said Flewitt. McLaren pumped almost £92m into R&D last year, up 20%, to bring the entry-level, £130k McLarens, the 540C and 570S, to the launchpad, as well as the hardcore 650S, the 666bhp, 100kg lighter 675 LT. The new, new, new emphasis won't be lost on McLaren rival Aston Martin, which is still improving the decade-old V8 Vantage and DB9 ranges until boxfresh cars start arriving in 2016.

The lucrative McLaren P1 range-topper

4) They're bullish about growth

Investment will grow in 2015 to £120m, to complete McLaren's three model line-up, and future-proof the company against 'the challenges in platform and powertrain,' says the automotive chief. 'In 2015, we're expecting to deliver 1800 cars, next year over 2000, and in 2017 we want to hit 4000 cars - that's where we aspire to be.'

5) But they won't be doing an SUV just yet

Flewitt flashed up a slide with pictures of SUVs from Bentley, Lamborghini and Aston - but with a massive cross through it! 'We are a sports car company,' he said. 'For the foreseeable future, we will build two-seat sports cars. We want to be an iconic manufacturer of cars that are great to drive. We won't push resource into other areas - there's more than enough competition in this SUV segment for now...'

Flewitt summed it all up as follows: 'We are not arrogant, we are humble about the scale of the challenge but to have achieved what we have in four years, that's probably unprecedented in the car industry.' Maybe treat yourself to a glass of champers over Goodwood weekend, Mike... 

Staff building the 12C in the early years

By Phil McNamara

Editor-in-chief of CAR magazine