SUVs aren’t the only means of success in the global auto industry in 2017.
Sports cars, supercars even, appear to be a useful means of sourcing profits, even for a relatively young automaker such as McLaren.
It’s often said that the one way to make a small fortune racing cars is to start with a large fortune. The theme is just as accurate when it comes to automotive production and sales.
Yet McLaren, which began series production of road cars only seven years ago, saw its profits jump 70 percent, year-over-year, to USD $12 million in 2016 as global sales doubled.
More than one-third of the McLarens sold in 2016 are found driveways in North America.
After I spent some time with the McLaren 570s, the British supercar company’s entry-level model for North America, I asked Jack Baruth if he thought the 675LT was worth $200,000 dollars more than the 570S.
I’d driven the 675LT around Los Angeles back in January and Jack’s driven both cars as well. The 570S’ performance impressed me, but I wanted the opinion of someone with more experience driving six-figure sports cars than I do.
Jack’s reply was simple: “Yes, it is.”
I don’t have the income to afford either car, but I realized two things upon consideration. The first was Jack was correct: if I had $400,000 to spend on a car, I’d probably go with the 675LT. Though edging into diminishing returns, the differences are noticeable to even a ham-fisted driver such as myself.
The second realization: at around $200,000, the 570S is a bargain.
In the middle of a desert, a fleet of gorgeous supercars sat patiently, awaiting the next slightly hungover bachelor party, or group of corporate khaki-wearers. Yet, I could feel the unmistakable sense of power as I arrived at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas. These beasts waited to be unchained by a capable driver.
Exotics Racing is the brainchild of stunt driver and former Euro NASCAR champion Romain Thievin.
“I started with almost nothing,” says Thievin. “And now, I own over 50 exotic cars.”
With locations outside of Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Exotics Racing is the perfect place for pleated Dockers-wearing cubicle dwellers to have team-building events. Thievin’s fleet includes everything from Lamborghini Huracans to Audi R8s to Porsche 991 GT3s. But when I called Exotics Racing to let them know I was in town, Thievin and his team insisted that I drive the latest addition to their impressive fleet.
Behold, the McLaren 570S.
Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, $2.4 million
It’s impossible to visit Manhattan without noticing wealth and privilege. Though I’m loathe to use the P word as it’s been corrupted by politics, how else can you describe someone driving a S Class Mercedes-Benz with “MD” New York license plates other than as affluent and expecting special treatment from parking enforcement that won’t be extended to some zhlub from Jersey in a Camry?
New York City generates so much wealth that the people there can afford the opportunity and real costs involved with insane traffic, general congenstion and expensive infrastructure. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising, then, that the New York International Auto Show is where car companies go to show off their goods from the top shelf.