Perhaps the most noticeable thing about McLaren’s state-of-the-art Production Center, where the MP4-12C supercar is assembled, is how little it resembles an automotive assembly plant.
Sure, there are racks of components and cars in various stages of assembly, but what’s absent is the dim lighting, dangling air and electric lines and army of automated robots that are present in most modern vehicle assembly facilities.
McLaren, you see, marches to the beat of a slightly different drummer. Robots aren’t used for assembly, simply because they can’t match the care and eye for detail of a trained, skilled and motivated worker.
American auto plants are ergonomic wonders, designed specifically to prevent repetitive-motion injuries among workers. McLaren, on the other hand, allows workers to climb over, under and through cars during assembly.
You get a sense that working there is a privilege, and that every employee builds each MP4-12C as if it were their own car. Sure, the price of the MP4-12C demands careful assembly, but it’s clear that the workers have a passion that goes beyond a paycheck.
That ties back to McLaren’s philosophy behind its Tech Center complex, which integrates all of McLaren’s divisions under one roof. The company seeks to hire only the best talent available in each field, and the Tech Center complex gives them a visually stunning place to ply their trades.
As Lee Boyce, head of McLaren's Operations Engineering Services puts it, the Production Center (and really, the entire Tech Center) is more theater than factory, and stepping through the doors each morning requires workers to bring their “A” game.
But then you’d expect nothing less from a company that’s won one of every four Formula One races it’s ever entered, as well as finished on the podium in half the races it’s run. This episode of Driven may be nearly 30 minutes long, but trust us here: you’ll savor every second.