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McLaren gears up for Middle East supercar spending spree

Robert Holtshausen Mclaren McLaren
McLaren's new regional market director Robert Holtshausen expects Dubai and Abu Dhabi to be key markets
  • New Dubai showroom and service centre will be McLaren’s largest
  • Permanent Abu Dhabi store to follow in 2024
  • Growing demand for hybrid supercars in the region

McLaren is aiming to double supercar sales in the Middle East and Africa this year, largely driven by demand in the UAE and the arrival of its Artura hybrid model.

The carmaker, which is based in Woking in the UK and has Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat as its largest shareholder, expects Dubai to be one of the top performing retailers within the wider Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Construction work on a new showroom and service centre in the emirate is under way and will be McLaren’s largest in the world when completed at the end of this year, Robert Holtshausen, the company’s new regional market director for the Middle East, said.

Holtshausen told AGBI that McLaren is also investing in new facilities in Abu Dhabi, re-entering the UAE capital in a deal with Abu Dhabi Motors. McLaren Abu Dhabi is currently operational in a pop-up facility, with a permanent showroom to open in 2024.

“We expect the UAE’s capital to be a key market for McLaren in the coming years,” he said.

The regional plans come as McLaren looks to accelerate growth following a disappointing 2022 when it says production was hindered by industry-wide semi-conductor shortages and supply constraints. 

Announcing global revenue of $168 million and sales of 620 cars in Q1, the company said production of its $260,000 Artura hybrid supercar was “ramping up”.

“We are optimistic about sales in 2023, largely driven by the arrival of the Artura, which began deliveries in the region during Q1,” Holtshausen said.

He added that sales of the Artura, which has a top speed of 330km/hour and can go from 0-100km/hour in just three seconds, were “currently surpassing our expectations for demand” in the Middle East and Africa. 

The first owner to take delivery in the region was UAE-based entrepreneur and car enthusiast Aliev Kiril.

Machine, Spoke, WheelMcLaren
Sales of the $260,000 Artura hybrid are ‘surpassing expectations’ in the Middle East and Africa

Mazen Al Nashar, general manager at McLaren Dubai, said the market continues to see growth in demand for hybrid supercars in the region. 

“The governments in the region have been instrumental in promoting EVs and investing in the infrastructure, enabling customers to opt for a balance between efficiency and performance,” he added.

Fierce competition

Holtshausen, who is based in McLaren’s regional office located next to the Sakhir F1 racing circuit in Bahrain, said the company’s support of the GCC’s four Formula 1 races in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain “represent an invaluable opportunity to increase McLaren’s brand awareness across the region”.

Competition is “very fierce” with supercars being in high demand, he said. A total of 77 vehicles were sold to customers in the Middle East last year out of 2,188 delivered globally.

Customers in the Middle East expect “quality, performance and prestige”, Holtshausen said. This is leading to an increase in demand for services offered by the McLaren Special Operations division, which personalises supercars with extras including one-off custom paint colours to ultra-rare bespoke vehicle commissions.

The company also announced the launch of the 750S last month, McLaren’s lightest and most powerful series production supercar to date, costing nearly $600,000. 

Car, Transportation, VehicleMcLaren
The $600,000 750S is McLaren’s lightest and most powerful series production supercar to date

McLaren added that a previously announced recapitalisation programme is ongoing with its shareholders, aimed at providing new funding to support its long-term product investment plan. Shareholders gave a total of $211 million of funding between December and March.

This included the sale of some of its collection of historic vehicles – including rare Formula 1 cars – to fill a cash hole left by delays in delivering the Artura.

Mumtalakat bought the heritage models in exchange for a $123 million cash injection.

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