June 4, 2014 / 4:50 PM / 4 years ago

Luxury car maker McLaren moves into profit, to step up production

LONDON, June 4 (Reuters) - McLaren Automotive, which makes limited-edition sports cars that sell for more than $1 million, plans to expand production after moving into profit for the first time, the company said on Wednesday.

Based in southern England, the niche carmaker was launched in 2010 as a sister company to the Formula One motor racing team with which it shares a brand and overlapping technologies.

Its expansion plans are likely to bring it into closer competition with luxury car brands such as Porsche, Audi and Aston Martin as well as current rivals Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The company, whose main shareholder is Bahrain’s Mumtalakat investment fund, reported pretax profit of 4.5 million pounds ($7.5 million) in 2013 on turnover of 285 million.

“These results demonstrate that we have established a profitable long-term business,” said Mike Flewitt, chief executive of McLaren Automotive.

The company is ultimately aiming for annual turnover of 1 billion pounds once it has expanded production with the launch of a less expensive sports car which should be available by the end of next year.

Britain is the base for eight of the 11 Formula One teams, giving it a reputation for engineering expertise and helping to support a network of specialist parts suppliers across central and southern England.

McLaren is producing only eight cars a day at present at its factory in the town of Woking. It plans to more than double production to 4,000 per year once it launches its new two-seater sportscar which will have a price of 115-135,000 pounds.

McLaren’s most expensive P1 supercar sells for 866,000 pounds ($1.45 million) and the company has said it will make only 375 of them - for which it has already taken orders.

U.S. TV host Jay Leno is one of the wealthy individuals who have taken delivery of a P1.

McLaren’s other current models are the 650S Coupe and Spider which sell for between 190,000 and 220,000 pounds and were launched earlier this year.

McLaren exports around 90 percent of its cars from Britain and opened new showrooms in four Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai last year. ($1 = 0.5974 British Pounds) (Editing by Erica Billingham)

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