Saturday, March 26, 2016

Is McLaren Automotive coming to the Philippines?

After producing the BMW-powered McLaren F1 from 1993 to 1998 and teaming up with Mercedes-Benz to create the SLR McLaren from 2003 to 2009, McLaren Cars decided to go its own way by creating McLaren Automotive and coming up with its own vehicle, the McLaren MP4-12C, which was manufactured and sold from 2011 to 2014.Currently, McLaren has a three-tier structure for its current models: the Sports Series (540C, 570S, 570GT); the Super Series (625C, 650S, 675LT, 675LT Spider); and the Ultimate Series (P1, P1 GTR).

Considering the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini now have local dealerships in the Philippines, the question inside every local petrolhead's mind was when will McLaren join the fray? Well, apparently, McLaren Automotive has been monitoring the country closely all along.

According to our source, a local automotive dealer and importer has talked with McLaren Automotive about the possibility of opening up a dealership in the Philippines. In response, the supercar manufacturer supposedly laid down a few demands, some of which are: that the dealership be separate from its after-service facility; that the dealership be a standalone structure and not be located side-by-side with another vehicle brand that the importer sells; and that it be located in Bonifacio Global City, specifically within the newly-opened Shangri-La at the Fort.

Unfortunately, the supposed deal-breaker between McLaren Automotive and the local dealer and importer was the location since the cost per sqm of the leasable space within the hotel was reportedly too high, making it an impractical investment.

So, will we ever see McLaren Automotive officially enter the Phiippine market? Maybe, if a local dealer thinks the cost--and risk--involved is worth it or if McLaren softens its stance in the local market. Until then, interested McLaren owners can only rely on the gray-market route for now.

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