McLaren's regional sales accelerate for first half of year

London // The British supercar brand McLaren Automotive is racing ahead of the competition, with a surge in sales of its Dh723,000-plus motors in the Middle East and Africa.

That comes despite a slowdown in the overall luxury sports car market, which in the Arabian Gulf and Iran has plummeted by one third since 2013.

In contrast, McLaren Automotive saw Middle East and Africa unit sales rise by 69 per cent in the first six months of 2016, compared with the same period last year, according to figures published exclusively today by The National.

Andreas Bareis, the managing director of McLaren Automotive in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, said that was partly due to the introduction of the marque’s entry level Sports Series.

But unit sales of the Super Series range – which starts at Dh900,000 and includes the 650S Coupé and Spider, along with the limited production 675LT models – also improved by 19.3 per cent, he said.

“The key driver for us is obviously the Sports Series,” Mr Bareis said. “Also we had some synergies from a brand-awareness point-of-view – here in the Middle East more and more people are now aware about the McLaren offerings.”

IHS Automotive, which tracks motor sales, forecasts that just 707 of the world’s most expensive sports cars – those costing Dh700,000 or above – will be sold in the six GCC countries, plus Iran, this year. That compares with a high of 1,058 in 2013, although these numbers do not account for some of McLaren’s cheaper models.

Mr Bareis, speaking from McLaren Automotive’s regional base in Bahrain, agreed that the top-end car market in the region has suffered.

“Therefore with our results we are very pleased, because it’s going [in the different direction],” he said. “It’s quite a tough competition here in the market.”

McLaren sold a record 1,654 cars globally during in 2015, a number it expects to double this year, Mr Bareis said.

He did not specify how many unit sales were made in the Middle East and Africa, but added that the region accounts for approximately 10 percent of the global volume.

Sales of the more expensive models – including the now-discontinued P1, which sold for £866,000 (Dh4.1 million) in the United Kingdom – are, however, disproportionately high in the Middle East market, Mr Bareis said. The P1 was part of the marque’s top-end Ultimate Series, in which it is does not currently make any new cars.

And the road ahead appears even more enticing for the British supercar maker.

Despite the tough market conditions, Mr Bareis said he sees future “continuous growth” in the Middle East.

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