The delicate financial situation of McLaren once again affects the British company, which has had to make a difficult and surely very painful decision to obtain the liquidity, necessary to cover “certain technical improvements” in its first mass-produced plug-in hybrid model.
The McLaren P1 was McLaren’s first plug-in hybrid car, although that model had limited production to just 375 units. Today it is one of the most desired modern hypercars. Electrification has been gaining more and more weight and McLaren decided to launch a series-produced plug-in hybrid, the McLaren Artura.
However, Artura has chained several delays in its launch. Recently the delays have been due to “certain technical improvements” that have also caused additional costs in the project to the point that McLaren has been forced to sell part of its collection of historic cars to a Bahraini fund to obtain liquidity and be able to finance these costs.
A McLaren spokesman has confirmed the sale of some models from the company’s private collection to Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat Holding in exchange for €116 million (£100 million). They gave no further details about which models have been sold or how many. They also did not specify if the models will remain on display in Woking, something that seems very likely.
McLaren’s historical legacy in competition is very rich and is a source of pride for the brand. McLaren owns (or owned until now) a total of 54 cars -including competition and street models-. Many of them have been Formula 1 world champions or winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. McLaren’s private collection includes cars as iconic as Ayrton Senna’s McLaren MP4/4 or one of only five McLaren F1 LMs in the world. However, the collection has been dwindling in recent years: in 2014, McLaren had more than 200 cars.
Even with this painful decision, the funds obtained will not be enough. The company is currently “in active discussions with all shareholders regarding a recapitalization of the group.” McLaren has reported a loss of 236 million euros (203 million pounds) in the first nine months of the year, losses almost three times higher than in the same period last year. At the end of the third quarter, McLaren has only 101 million euros of liquidity, compared to almost 200 million it had on the same date last year.
Just a few months ago McLaren received 145 million euros from its shareholders (among which is the Saudi Arabian sovereign fund) through convertible preference shares. To obtain liquidity, last year it also sold its headquarters in Woking (England) for 197 million euros to the American company Global Net Lease, although the British company maintains the usufruct of the facilities in exchange for rent.