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Major investment and job opportunities in the UK’s composites industry were confirmed as McLaren Automotive announced details of its range of innovative high-performance composites sports cars and the start of construction of the McLaren Production Centre (MPC).
The MPC, a 32,000m² high-tech manufacturing facility located at McLaren Group’s headquarters in Woking, England, began construction on March 1 2010 following a design from Foster + Partners, the same architects behind the award-winning McLaren Technology Centre (MTC). The new facility will be completed in just 12 months, with the first MP4-12C high-performance sports cars moving through the MPC production line in spring 2011.
Ron Dennis, Chairman of McLaren Automotive said: “We have long held the dream of building a range of McLaren high-performance sports cars that take the raw elements of Formula 1 principles, processes and performance and forge them into a unique package; one that offers customer-focused requirements of quality, efficiency, comfort and reliability.
“Today’s announcements confirm our intention to challenge convention at the highest levels of automotive design, from a high-tech home that I am proud to say will deliver jobs, expertise and innovation in manufacturing and engineering.
“In my first season at McLaren in 1981 we were an operation of 50 people dedicated solely to winning motor races. Since then, we have grown to a company of over a thousand that is, I believe, at the forefront of the UK’s innovative manufacturing industries. Everything we have achieved as a well-honed and fiercely competitive team over the past 30 years has prepared us for this moment.
“It is with great confidence, and genuine excitement, that we move forward with our plans to open up a new chapter for McLaren and the UK’s modern manufacturing industries,” Dennis concluded.
Funding for the £40 million investment has come from McLaren Automotive’s existing shareholders, whilst a new shareholding offer will support future development programmes for a range of McLaren high-performance sports cars that will be launched soon after the 12C.
The MPC will be the home of McLaren Automotive’s range of high-performance and highly efficient sports cars, supporting up to 800 jobs and manufacturing around 4,000 cars by the middle of the decade. New standards of quality will be introduced into the sports car market, as well as innovative new technologies unique to McLaren. All components on the cars are bespoke to McLaren.
The first 12C customer cars will be completed in the Production Hall at the McLaren Technology Centre in late-2010, approximately three months before production transfers to the brand new McLaren Production Centre. They will follow the same build and quality processes that McLaren Automotive developed for the £300,000-plus carbon-fibre based Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
However, in a revolutionary step that allows the 12C to retail at around half that price point, McLaren will introduce an innovative one-piece carbon-fibre chassis structure: according to McLaren the first time such a lightweight, safe and strong structure has been offered on a series production car in this market segment.
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