The McLaren Automotive Company (MAC for short) is presently holding a string of dealership grand opening ceremonies on a city-by-city basis around Europe. We caught up with them in Milan, Italy, at opening ceremony number five of the planned thirty-five ceremonies worldwide.
Located in the "expendable income" part of town, the dealership is more of a boutique storefront with a McLaren logo above a couple of the entryways. On the main part of the floor in the corner window is the star car, the MP4-12C, painted silver with a nice burgundy red interior.
Beautiful folks abounded, making us feel even drabber than usual. Then the moment arrived when the police escorted a black MP4-12C to a corded-off bit of curb in front of the showroom. Up went the driver's side swan door and out came McLaren F1 driver and 2009 Formula One Drivers Champion, Jenson Button. Click through the jump to read more and watch a video of Button's arrival.
The F1 circus was in town for the Italian Grand Prix at the Monza circuit, a race in which Button has arrived in second place in the past two seasons. Starting something of a trend, Button finished this weekend's race in second place once again, making it three in a row.
After the fanfare, we sat with MAC general manager Antony Sheriff for an update on the company's progresses. As of July, production started in the completed new manufacturing facility in Woking and a primary goal of the company is to get test cars to all 35 dealers around the world.
Production rhythm right now is one car off the line every two hours, but that rhythm will get brisker as things become more familiar, with the goal of one car every 45 minutes.
Sales recorded on the books as of today mean that all production through August 2012 is sold with owners' names on them. In the case of the U.S. allotment, orders now stretch out two and a half years, so the pressure is on bigtime to get cars cranking and make that wait is more like one year and a half maximum.