For nearly 10 years, British-based supercar builder McLaren has been busily pumping their race-bred technical heritage into exclusive, adrenaline-rushing two-seaters that compete with Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and Porsche.
One of their most important markets? Dallas-Fort Worth.
“We opened here in 2011 and two years later, Dallas was No. 1 in world retail," says Tony Joseph, president of McLaren North America, during a recent Dallas visit. "Growth has been spectacular here, as well as Houston, and we continue to build momentum.”
Last year, McLaren sold 1,300 cars in North America. Of those, 85 were in Dallas-Fort Worth and 65 were in Houston. The company confidently predicts it will sell 1,500 cars in North America this year.
While impressive, the company’s sales volume won’t keep Toyota awake at night. Then again, a Corolla won’t accelerate from 0-60 in under three seconds, like the futuristic 562-horsepower McLaren 570S (nor does it cost $191,100).
There’s also the even-more-futuristic (and scary-fast) 720S, which generates a ferocious 710-hp for $288,845.
“You look at the McLaren 720S, hear about its technology and all the horsepower under hood, and imagine that it’s pretty fast. But you’d be wrong. It’s way faster than you imagine,” says Motor Trend editor-in-chief Ed Loh. “This is a supercar that puts last year’s hypercars on the trailer, whimpering, tail between their legs.”
Lest fans forget, the from-another-galaxy 789-hp Senna runs $837,000, or the equivalent of 45 Corollas.
So why are Texans in general — and Dallasites in particular — falling for McLaren?
“Texas is a technology hub and Dallas has benefited greatly from that,” says Joseph. “Our customers are drawn to how we use tech to create a thrilling driving experience — lightweight carbon fiber monocoque, lightning-fast 7-speed dual-clutch shifts, Formula One-derived handling characteristics, a new stability system called McLaren Variable Drift Control — all this and more appeals to tech-minded buyers here and elsewhere.”
While speed is a selling point, McLarens also can be dialed down enough to comfortably cruise the leafy boulevards of Highland Park without alerting the constabulary. And since it’s a mid-engine vehicle, there’s a surprising amount of storage space up front. So it’s practical, too.
“Dallas in particular likes our exclusive technology and our inclusive lifestyle,” Joseph adds. “One buyer said, ‘Ferrari is my dad’s car, McLaren is for my generation.’ But we’re inclusive. We welcome everyone to experience our brand even if they’ll never be a customer. People come to the dealership just to see and learn about the cars and attend sponsored rallies and join our growing community. We love that.”
McLaren’s strategic growth plans include adding 18 new models or variants, including electric models and a high-performance hybrid GT cruiser that will make 240 mph, all built in their space-age Minority Report-style manufacturing headquarters outside London, by 2025.
Car enthusiasts and driving day-dreamers can get a closer look at McLaren offerings at the Luxury & Supercar Showcase on October 13 at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas. On display will be the first-ever American appearance of the fire-breathing 600LT “Longtail,” the super-exclusive Senna and, for the kid in all of us, a life-size 720S made of LEGOs.