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McLaren Looks Beyond Building Cars

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With the company just having launched its first new road car in more than two decades, as well as ambitiously announcing plans for two more models in the coming years, it’s safe to say McLaren has its hands full at the moment.

Nevertheless, McLaren sees even more business opportunities on the horizon, including some that fall outside the automotive industry.

The end goal, if all goes to plan for company co-founder and current CEO Ron Dennis, is to transform McLaren from a racing and sports car company into a $1.5 billion technology giant over the next five years.

"We are a car company, but we're first and foremost a technology company," Dennis revealed to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) during a recent interview.

The technology he is mostly referring to is McLaren’s vast computing and modeling expertise developed for the fast-paced and ever-changing world of Formula 1 racing. That expertise, Dennis explained, could be applied to other sectors such as pharmaceuticals and transport management.

The company is already working with drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline on planning and process control, as well as Britain's National Air Traffic Services on predictive and simulation software. McLaren even has hand in the monitoring of train networks in the state of California.

Deliveries of McLaren’s sole model, the $231,400 MP4-12C, began last month, and the company expects to sell a modest 150 cars in the U.S. next year. Its longer-term plans are more ambitious, and McLaren hopes that expansion of its product line will grow North American sales to 700 units annually in the near future.

McLaren has shown in the past that it can reach the pinnacle of its chosen field with relatively limited resources, proof of which can be seen in its performance in the world of F1 and dominance of its legendary F1 supercar, so hopefully its new ventures will translate to even more success and exciting new products.
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  1. In the past MacLaren tried getting in the business of manufacturing and selling high end audio systems. The business was a spectacular flop and they ended up selling it for pennies on the dollar. Running a Formula 1 team successfully and building high end road cars are related areas of expertise. Branching out into other industries is not going to be a piece of cake.
     
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