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Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (copyright image)

The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren was built by
McLaren who now plan to make their own car.

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26th May, 2009

  • McLaren Production Centre planned to build McLaren Automotive’s range of innovative high performance sports cars from 2011

Ron Dennis, Chairman of McLaren Automotive, recently announced plans for the UK home of a brand new British-built range of high-performance, high-technology sports cars. Located adjacent to the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England, the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) is a proposal that would provide an important investment in the UK automotive and high-tech manufacturing infrastructure.

An application for planning permission was submitted 19th May, 2009, to Woking Borough Council for the facility that would have the capacity for up to 20 pure McLaren sports cars per day. Aiming to be the UK’s most modern and efficient automotive production facility, MPC would provide employment growth at McLaren supporting over 800 automotive jobs and an estimated additional 1,500 indirectly in the local economy.

The planned building of MPC would also support sustained growth of the McLaren brand in providing high-value, high-tech manufacturing and engineering employment in the midst of the global recession. With its first product, a high performance and highly efficient sports car due to be delivered in early 2011, McLaren’s globally respected road car and racing car development skills are set to redefine the automotive engineering environment in the UK.

Ron Dennis said: “Ever since we revealed the McLaren F1 sports car in 1992, it has been a long-held dream of mine to launch a McLaren sports car company. Designing, developing and selling globally the best sports cars in the world is just half of that equation; building them to previously unmatched levels of quality, with ground-breaking technologies in a production facility in the UK is key to satisfying that dream. I believe that if the McLaren Production Centre is given the go ahead, it will be an engineering centre of excellence of which McLaren and the UK can be proud.”

Following a thorough planning process McLaren submitted a formal planning application that takes the McLaren Technology Centre’s (MTC) successful 2003 development as its lead precedent.

Six years ago, McLaren worked in partnership with Woking Borough Council and the Horsell Common Preservation Society to build a headquarters that offered extensive public access to its grounds and restored previously contaminated land. MTC’s build and integration into the landscape enabled sustained growth of McLaren Group companies to 1,500 employees, adhered to strict planning controls and legal obligations and won a Royal Town Planning Institute award for its planning delivery. It is Ron Dennis’ aim that the McLaren Production Centre will follow a comparably successful process.

Dennis continued: “It would be easy enough to consider building McLaren sports cars in existing productive and experienced foreign factories; a number of which are knocking on our door. However, McLaren is a great British company founded over 40 years ago that should, in my view, continue to design and build our own products.”

McLaren’s plans for the MPC further support recent political and business calls for the development of high-tech manufacturing and engineering jobs to support the UK’s growth out of recession. A Woking Borough Council decision on McLaren’s planning application for the McLaren Production Centre is anticipated at the end of July.

The proposed manufacturing centre complies with all key planning principles set by the existing planning consent and features a building sunk into the ground to minimise visual impact, substantial new areas of tree planting and re-contouring to effectively disguise above-ground views, and improves access to public land for recreation.

About the McLaren Sports Car

McLaren Automotive plans to build a range of high performance sports cars from 2011. With an initial annual production of 1,000 units, increasing to around 4,000 when the range is complete. These cars will be mid-engined highly efficient high performance sports cars.

About the McLaren Production Centre

Having regard to the need for the development, the site characteristics and planning policies, the proposal is for a new purpose-built building of up to 17,760 square metres gross (inclusive of all operations and warehousing) together with parking and hard and soft landscaping. The building has been carefully sited to ensure that it is contained within the landscape setting, screened from the A320 and does not detract from the design integrity of the Technology Centre. The scale of the building has been reduced through the sharing of facilities with the Technology Centre, and its 'footprint' and height kept to the minimum operational requirement. The single-storey structure with a basement ensures that the height is below that of the Technology Centre. The landscape will be re-contoured to screen the building from the public footpath, to ensure a natural appearance and to avoid the need to remove large amounts of spoil away from the site. Specialist consultants have been employed to look at flood risk, biodiversity, land contamination, public open space, trees and transport to ensure there are no significant adverse effects on matters of acknowledged importance.

About Ron Dennis

Ron Dennis has been involved in motor sport since he began his career 42 years ago. In 1966 he joined the Cooper Racing Car Company and progressed to join the Brabham Racing team where in 1968 he was appointed to the position of Chief Mechanic to Sir Jack Brabham. Three years later Ron launched his own company, Rondel Racing, which won races in the Formula 2 Championship. During the 1970s he ran a number of successful teams, mainly concentrating on Formula 2 but also competing in the Procar Championship. In 1980 Ron’s most recent company, Project Four, merged with Team McLaren Ltd to form McLaren Racing. This was to be the catalyst for the great success and diversification that McLaren has enjoyed to date. Since 1980, McLaren has won seven Constructors’ World Championships and ten Drivers’ World Championships. In 1989 Ron co-founded McLaren Cars, which designed and manufactured the revolutionary F1 road car of 1994; now renamed McLaren Automotive, the company produces the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren sports car on behalf of Daimler (see above image). Ron's entrepreneurial skills have seen the McLaren Group grow and diversify. It currently encompasses McLaren Automotive, McLaren Electronic Systems, McLaren Applied Technologies, McLaren Marketing and Absolute Taste, all in addition to the flagship, McLaren Racing and its McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team. During the year 2000, Ron was honoured with a CBE for services to motor sport. In 2001 he was presented with a BRDC Gold Medal in recognition for his contribution to motor sport. He was also awarded an Hon DTech from De Montfort University in 1996, an Hon DSc from City University (London) in 1997 and, in 2000, an Hon DSc from the University of Surrey. In January 2009 Ron announced that he would pass the role of McLaren Mercedes Team Principal to Martin Whitmarsh.


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