McLaren vows to stay solo, though. Its executive director of sales and marketing said that having no one else to answer to helps keep it "very quick to move," with "product development life cycles [that] are very efficient." The company wants to sell 4,000 cars per year by 2017, and it's more than a third of the way there before it's 'volume' model, the 570S, hits dealerships. Last year the company sold 1,648 cars around the world and pegs annual production of the 570S at 2,500 units.
The automaking side has done surprisingly well, surprisingly quickly. It only started making cars in 2011 and it turned a profit in 2013. That first car, the MP4-12C, has already morphed into the even better 650S, and McLaren offered 12C buyers a free upgrade. Since then we've been introduced to the P1, the P1 GTR, the 670S, the 675LT, and the 570S, while markets like China get the 650S and the 540C. That's seven vehicles on sale right now, not including race-only options like the 650S GT3, on top of an expanding global dealer network, all done in four years. Having done so well this far, independence would indeed seem to be the only option.