GENEVA McLaren Automotive, which only began building its range of luxury sports cars for general sale in 2010, could triple volumes to up to 5,000 cars by 2022, its CEO told Reuters on Tuesday.
The small luxury sports car manufacturer, which unveiled its 570 GT model at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday, has been ramping up production in recent years and built 1,654 cars in 2015, with prices ranging from about 120,000 pounds ($167,600) to more than 800,000 pounds.
But CEO Mike Flewitt said an increase in numbers will come from its widened range of seven models, with the new 570 GT being part of its plan to broaden the brand's appeal to new types of buyers, including more women.
"4,000 (vehicles) is a very good business model for us. I actually think volume by 2022 will be more consistently around 4,500 and I don't think it will go above 5,000 cars," he said.
McLaren, which shares facilities and expertise with its Formula One namesake but is a separate legal entity, is expanding in a market segment that longer-established rivals such as Ferrari RACE.MI and Aston Martin have traditionally dominated.
However, some smaller companies have been held back by not being part of a wider automotive group. Aston Martin has tried to counter the problem by using a partnership with larger brand Daimler (DAIGn.DE) to supply some electronics and engines.
Meeting stricter and costlier emissions rules is also seen as a challenge to smaller carmakers, but McLaren's global director of sales and marketing said the company does not need to be part of a wider group.
"Last year we invested 120 million pounds ($167.7 million) in research and development. That's 30 percent of our revenue," Jolyon Nash said. "Over the next six years, up until 2022, we will be investing 1 billion pounds in R&D for new products."
The latest available figures show that McLaren Automotive achieved turnover of almost 500 million pounds in 2014.
Flewitt, meanwhile, ruled out building a sports utility vehicle, resisting the temptation to follow the likes Jaguar (TAMO.NS) in the rush to tap rising demand for 4x4 vehicles.
"When I look at a product proposition: if it's right for the brand, if it's going to be competitive, the best car in its segment and it's going to make money for the company, then it's the right answer," he said.
"At the moment an SUV doesn't fit those for us and I don't know whether it ever will."
(Editing by David Goodman)
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