Prior to the launch of the new McLaren MP4-12C, the company hadn’t built an automobile under its own name since the McLaren F1 went out of production in 1998. It’s only recently established a dealer network on these shores, appointing nine retailers for the United States and one for Canada.

Despite the brand’s legendary reputation and extensive portfolio as a constructor of both race cars and high-end road cars, most finance companies in America would view the brand from Woking as a new start up. If they agreed to extend financing at all, it would likely be at rates no sane buyer would accept.

Enter Putnam Leasing, a Connecticut-based finance company that specializes in low-volume financing of high end automobiles. Already familiar with the McLaren brand, Putnam Leasing was the logical choice for a finance partner.

Automotive News (subscription required) quotes McLaren’s North American director as saying, “The difficulty is, not only is there a new car, it’s a new automotive company. You’ve got to find a finance company that really, really knows that market. That’s where the bulk of their (Putnam’s) experience is; in super-luxury cars, super-sports cars.”

Putnam offers exotic car shoppers various leasing options, but the most popular is lease-to-own. This keeps monthly payments low, allowing buyers to invest cash in assets that appreciate, not lose money the way automobiles do.

Deliveries of the $231,400 McLaren MP4-12C began last month, and the company expects to sell a modest 150 cars here 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.

We don’t expect to see an MP4-12C in the press fleet anytime soon, but we’re still cheering for the long-term success of McLaren in the North American market.