We’ve been hearing of recalls impacting hundreds of thousands of vehicles in recent weeks, but supercar manufacturers don’t have that kind of scale. McLaren recently issued a recall, and the number of vehicles involved and the component triggering the whole mess is tiny.
McLaren has confirmed that it will be delaying the launch of its new hybrid supercar, the Artura, until the summer of 2022. Slated to commence deliveries by the end of 2021, the company has stated that the chip shortage has forced a revised timeline.
The semiconductor shortage has been a popular excuse for automakers the world over and may still be valid. Chip manufacturers have continued prioritizing the production of newer, more advanced components yielding higher margins. However, these units typically do not make their way into automobiles and are more commonly found in smaller electronic devices.
McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt will be stepping down after spending eight years at his post. The supercar manufacturer has stated that it’s already in search of his replacement, though that will be just one of several issues it needs to square away.
While Flewitt oversaw the brand’s impressive global expansion efforts and push to integrate new technologies needed for a broader product lineup, McLaren is still reeling from work stoppages done in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial concerns have since encouraged the company to scale back its involvement in Formula One so it could prioritize its own survival, saving jobs wherever possible.
McLaren Automotive has decided on a name for its upcoming plug-in hybrid. But we know you don’t care much about premium automobiles reserved for people with more money than sense, so we’ll keep this one brief.
Formerly referred to as the P16, McLaren’s new PHEV will be called the Artura. The name, which is of Celtic origin, is supposed to denote nobility. While we cannot say for sure, the brand may be dropping hints as to the type of customers it’s targeting — because the model will no doubt come with a princely sum.
Pop quiz, hotshot. What’s hand-assembled in Britain, rips to 60mph in 2.7 seconds, and turns the quarter-mile trick in less than 10 seconds? If you guessed the outrageous new 2020 McLaren 765LT, give yourself a gold star. Or at least a tank full of premium.
Oh, yeah; did we mention that it is completely sold out?
There are swaths of London that are famous for drawing in the most ostentatious supercars in existence, often with one of them pin-balling itself down a row of parked cars in a high-end neighborhood. This is especially true in the summer months, when foreign business magnates seeking milder climates unleash their children onto the city. Someone even produced a documentary about it a few years back — Millionaire Boy Racers — that pitted stodgy Londoners with furrowed brows against young hooligans in six-figure cars.
The real gift arising from the situation is the large number of non-serious crashes involving those ultra-premium rides that the drivers did nothing to achieve. For example, just last week a pink McLaren 570S managed to demolish itself in a 20-mph zone near Montagu Mansions. While we cannot say it was another millionaire boy racer, the fuchsia paint scheme would certainly suggest so.
With McLaren scrounging for cash and cutting 1,200 positions from its ranks in the hopes of prolonging its own existence, it would be an understatement to claim 2020 has been unkind to the automaker. Most nameplates are having a rough year. And almost all are seeking ways to turn things around before the situation becomes untenable and their fate becomes sealed.
The plan for McLaren involved a £150 million loan from the National Bank of Bahrain and more than a few empty seats.
Autocar now claims the brand has even considered selling part or all of McLaren Applied and Automotive. While the outlet admits this likely hinges on its evolving financial situation, a company insider confirmed advanced discussions are focused on selling a minority stake in the Racing division.
McLaren says circumstances have encouraged it to get fairly aggressive in its restructuring efforts. Coronavirus lockdowns forced the company, like so many others, to postpone production and forego sales.
While an undesirable scenario for any manufacturer, McLaren Group already faced additional headwinds by being a relatively small manufacturer dependent on low-volume specialty products with astronomical price tags and having its racing program kneecapped the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
McLaren is recalling 2,763 vehicles built between 2016 and 2020. Considering the ultra-premium auto brand rarely moves more then 4,000 units a year (a tally it hopes to ramp up to 6,000 by 2025), its a sizable recall. Affected models include the $1-million Senna, 570GT, GT, and 720S.
As if hearkening back to the supercars of yore, the issue poses a potential fire hazard.
You may remember when Mercedes-Benz worked with McLaren to develop the SLR McLaren in the early 2000s. The supercar birthed from those creative loins trumped most everything else on the market upon its debut. As expected, it was very rare and very expensive. But did you know there was a further development of the car that was even rarer, and off-limits to all but a select few?
Presenting the SLR Stirling Moss.
There’s little question this is a pretty good time to be a gearhead. Dodge is doling out cars featuring 840 horsepower with full factory warranties. McLaren seemingly manufactures a new rocket ship every other day, with the Speedtail following the Senna following the 720S following the … well, you get the picture.
Which brings us to a very good question: Which manufacturer – past or present – is responsible for cranking out the largest number of great cars?
While it hasn’t been without reprieve, much of our automotive history has been occupied with manufacturers perpetually hunting for more power. The pursuit is a no-brainer. A motor releasing more energy than its rivals means a faster car and more bragging rights. Nowhere is this better epitomized than the muscle car era, where domestic automobiles morphed into ludicrously overpowered machines that we still look back upon with fondness.
The power wars continue into the present day. Dodge’s Challenger SRT Hellcat and Demon dragster are a prime examples, but Ford now hopes to rival the Hellcat with its Mustang Shelby GT500. Chevrolet made a valiant attempt with its Camaro ZL1. The quest for power spills over to everything from utility vehicles to hypercars, but there are other ways to go about building a swifter vehicle. You could always place it on an aggressive diet.
It wasn’t long after the invention of the automobile that people became obsessed with acquiring more speed. For manufacturers, having the world’s fastest production car was a major honor, though it took a few decades before objectively minded trade publications made it possible to compete on a level playing field.
Most production vehicles only manage to hold the record for a few years. There are, of course, exceptions. Lamborghini’s Miura P400 maintained its title as world’s fastest production car from 1970 to 1982, when the LP500 S version of the Countach debuted. The next decade would see the record change hands almost yearly until McLaren’s carbon-bodied F1 achieved 240 mph — destroying the previous benchmark by a wide margin.
While there is some contention that the F1’s maximum speed was only achievable via the elimination of its rev limiter, it still set the record at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien proving ground in 1993 under accepted guidelines and held that record until 2005. With the limiter intact, many argue the Jaguar XJ220 or RUF CTR2 would have been king of the hill until the Bugatti Veyron’s debut. Regardless, McLaren still built a production vehicle that was physically capable of reaching 240 mph and never bothered to reach any higher.
That’s expected to change once the company’s love song to the F1, the BP23 Hyper-GT, comes out.
Let’s take a moment to consider how ubiquitous sport utility vehicles and crossovers have become. They are, quite literally, everywhere, and reason for this is that they’ve morphed into a jack-of-all-trades type of automobile.
The antiquated definition of SUV included words like “rugged” and “off-road.” But modern examples really only need to ride higher than your typical sedan to qualify. That, along with the segment’s current trendiness, has helped to make such vehicles exceeding popular. So popular, in fact, that practically every automaker is trying to build one to improve sales.
This includes supercar manufacturers. Lamborghini intentionally priced the Urus as an “entry-level” model to ensure volume — and you had better believe Aston Martin and Ferrari will do the same with their upcoming crossovers. Porsche has two SUVs and the more-affordable Macan became its best-selling model last year. However, there is one performance brand that says it has no place for such a vehicle: McLaren.
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