McLaren’s future plans: yes to hybrids, no to SUVs

Published: 04 April 2016

► Up to 15 new McLarens by 2022
► Half will have hybrid power
► ‘We won’t make an SUV’

McLaren Automotive plans to launch as many as 15 new models and derivatives by the year 2022. The Woking firm’s future projects plan, referred to as ‘Track 22,’ includes provision for up to 50% of those new models to feature hybrid powertrains.

That list of new cars doesn't include special editions, such as 2014’s 650S LM for example; the 15 cars will be new models, or significant derivatives of current cars. The next new McLaren product planned is the 570S Spider, the open-topped version of the 570S junior supercar.

McLaren’s plans: £1bn investment in r&d in the next five years

As much as 20-25% of McLaren Automotive’s turnover between the time of writing this and the year 2022 is earmarked for investment in research and development. That sum, which is expected to total some £1bn, follows an investment of around £120m in r&d during 2015 alone.

A limiting factor in McLaren’s expansion plans is the Woking production facility’s maximum capacity of 5000 cars a year. It simply isn’t possible to build more, and McLaren has no plans to move production from Woking. The company has previously suggested, however, that it wouldn’t look to exceed this figure in order to help maintain its exclusivity. 

Currently McLaren road cars are sold in 30 markets worldwide; it isn’t planning on expanding to many more in the next five years (there aren’t plans to expand in Russia or India, for example). It will, however, expand its current total of 80 worldwide retailers to around 100.

How’s McLaren doing at the moment?

The road car division is about to declare its third year in profit and there’s currently a six-month order list for the 570S. The factory has just introduced double shifts for the first time, to increase 570S production volume.

The last P1 and P1 GTR hypercars recently rolled off their separate production line, and the 675LT coupe’s 500-car production run ends soon. Assembly of the 500-strong run of similar 675LT Spiders is about to begin. There will be more track-focused LT ‘longtail’ models to follow; McLaren won’t confirm what they’ll be but the junior Sports Series is a logical place to look. Anyone fancy a 590LT?

Any more plans for ‘budget’ models?

No. The upcoming McLaren 540C, a less powerful variant of the 570S ‘Sports Series’ model, is planned to be the most affordable McLaren model forever and always at £126,000 in the UK.

Will McLaren build an SUV?

Purists will be pleased to hear the answer is no, for a few reasons. ‘We don’t need one,’ a company spokesperson explained. ‘We can only make 5000 cars a year, we currently don’t have the capability to make an SUV, and our customers aren’t asking for one. They’re happy with their Range Rovers.’

What about the P1 successor? When’s the next ultimate McLaren?

Not for a while yet. In order to be more than a few percent faster than the current P1, there will have to be dramatic changes to the technology employed.

Intriguingly, McLaren’s engineers are currently working on an all-electric version of the P1 – but purely as an internal engineering evaluation study, not a production prototype. The concept is to explore if and how a pure EV could be made to feel as fast, exciting and involving as a McLaren ought to be.

It’s been a fast-paced journey so far for McLaren Automotive. The firm, which was officially formed in 2010 launched its MP4-12C supercar debut in 2011, its open-air 12C Spider variant in 2013, the 900bhp P1 hypercar in 2013 and the 650S evolution of the 12C in 2014. Sounds like the next five years will be just as busy…

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By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer