McLaren set to add pricier 650s sibling to 12C supercar

McLaren, the carmaker famed for its Formula One racing arm, is close to introducing its fourth supercar as the company seeks to vie against Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The 650s, which will debut at the Geneva motor show next month, will have more power, accelerate faster and be priced “a sensible distance” above the MP4-12C, operations director Alan Foster said in an interview in Hong Kong. McLaren is holding private viewings before Geneva and deliveries will begin next month, Asia Pacific regional director Mirko Bordiga said.

The 650s is part of chief executive Mike Flewitt’s plans to introduce a new McLaren every year as the company seeks to triple sales in two to three years. The maker of the million- dollar P1 is also developing cheaper vehicles that could compete against cars from  Porsche.

“It’s somewhat surprising they are slotting a car above the MP4-12C before introducing something a little more obtainable,” said Kevin Tynan, an auto analyst for Bloomberg Industries. “There is enough brand cache for a well-executed McLaren to compete with R8 and GT3.”

The company will probably introduce a model to compete in the segment that includes the Audi R8 or the Porsche GT3 within a couple of years, Foster said. McLaren is interested in making a more general-purpose vehicle based around a mid-engined sports car, he said.

“The idea is that we’ll bring a new car into position every 12 months,” said Foster. “There’s a number of degrees of segmentation until you get down to about 100,000 pounds sterling (US$167,000). We’re not in there yet, but it’s certainly one that’s of interest to us.”

The supercar maker expects to sell about 1,500 vehicles this year, similar to 2013, and plans for deliveries to reach 4,500 spread across a range of models in two to three years, Foster said. By comparison, Ferrari sold 6,922 vehicles and Lamborghini deliveries reached 2,121 in 2013.

Woking, U.K.-based McLaren began selling cars for retail buyers in 2011, starting with the MP4-12C road car, which Kelley Blue Book estimates to sell for about $240,000 and above, followed by the convertible MP4-12C spider and its top-of-the line P1.

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