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On Tuesday 16th of July 2013, my wife and I went to Woking to visit the McLaren facilities and view our spider being built.
Our car was on it's last hours of a 20 day journey on the production line. It was being readied to do the dynamic test followed by the monsoon test. The road test was to take place at the end of that day.

Caroline Haynes greeted us with Danielle Fenemore whose father used to be a mechanic I believe,on the Formula 1 circuit. She grew up around the pits and her knowledge of the Formula 1 world is very impressive.

Here are some of the few bits of information that I gathered during my tour. For some of you guys it might be old news but I hope that for others it will be informative.

-McLaren is working out the details of an extension to the 3 year warranty. (Official announcement in 2014)
-All current production cars have a new and improved IRIS system but I could not get any details on the new features or improvements. The only information I could get was that it: " ....includes a more user friendly interface and improved satellite navigation.. " (Waiting to make an official announcement?). Note that the word "System" was used, not "Software" when talking about the upgrade. On the second picture below you can see the unit but I don't know if it looks like the one you guys have in the car of if it's different. I'll post screenshots after delivery.
-Mclaren plans to only build just short of 7,000 MP4-12C units.
-The planned follow up car will be a less expensive type car.
-I saw a few P1s being built on the production line but those will not go to end users. They are currently used as training tools for the techs that will be building the retail cars. The finished "training" cars will be delivered to dealerships and for other non-customers uses.

During the visit, we came across the actual F1 GTR car that won the Le Mans in 1995. It was in a hallway being readied to be put back on display in the building's main hall. It was coming back from the Goodwood Festival of Speed. While looking inside the cockpit of the car I had a brief chat with one of the techs working on it. At one point he told me to come around the left side of the car while he pulled the steering wheel out. I then realized that he was going to let me wiggle my way onto the seat. I was floored!

A funny thing happened as I was struggling onto the seat. The fuel pumps started humming in the back but we couldn't figure out what switch I might have accidentally hit while I was making my way in. After unsuccessfully going through all the switches on the right hand side panel, we found a very small red button just to the left of the seat which I had brushed, unwittingly turning the fuel pumps on.

I don't think that too many people were given such an opportunity to sit at the controls of this historic car. I was very fortunate.

Overall the tour was extremely well done. Danielle was incredibly generous with her time and Caroline was kind enough to take pictures of us next to our car at the end of the tour. She promptly emailed us the pictures that same afternoon. I've included a few below.

For any future owners I would highly recommend doing this trip, especially with your spouse. My wife was not aware of the heritage carried by the McLaren name but she now has a much deeper appreciation and respect for the brand.

Cheers.
 

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Thanks for sharing - it will be a challenge for stand alone dealerships to survive on only one model at a time - can't really count the P1 for an income stream.

Great Kodak moments! :)
 

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What a way to begin the ownership experience! :cool:

Thanks for sharing and I am quite envious of your chance to sit inside the Le Mans winner - true that not many people are ever granted that opportunity. :)

Great group of people they have working there - everyone I've encountered has been really wonderful.

>8^)
ER
 

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That was a great write up thanks.

So the entire 12c run will be only 7000 cars? So that means another 2.5-3yrs. Interesting.
 

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Wow. Sounds like I'll have to make a trip to Woking next year. I didn't know they were this generous about the tours. McLaren are really trying hard to provide a great overall experience. Every night I sleep is one day less to wait!!! (ordering early next year after we move).

Thank you so much for sharing your story/writeup and the pictures!
 

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Thanks for sharing - it will be a challenge for stand alone dealerships to survive on only one model at a time - can't really count the P1 for an income stream.
Not sure I agree with that. A couple of months ago I heard that McLaren SF had firm orders for 12 P1's. That is equivalent to about 50 MP4's, which is close to a year's worth of sales there. So the P1 will help bridge any revenue gap to P13.
 

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Wow. Sounds like I'll have to make a trip to Woking next year. I didn't know they were this generous about the tours. McLaren are really trying hard to provide a great overall experience. Every night I sleep is one day less to wait!!! (ordering early next year after we move).

Thank you so much for sharing your story/writeup and the pictures!
A visit to Woking is well worth the effort. They put on a great tour and could not be friendlier.
 

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Nice write up Michel,wont be much longer for you to wait!! The production run is correct for all combined variants of the 12c,they are planning a production life of 4 years and the cheaper model you mention will slot in being the P13.The P14 being the next 12c :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
That was a great write up thanks.

So the entire 12c run will be only 7000 cars? So that means another 2.5-3yrs. Interesting.
Thanks John.

I was told that a total of 5 years was the planned production of the 12C but andy mentions 4 years so that gives you a ball park figure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Wow. Sounds like I'll have to make a trip to Woking next year. I didn't know they were this generous about the tours. McLaren are really trying hard to provide a great overall experience. Every night I sleep is one day less to wait!!! (ordering early next year after we move).

Thank you so much for sharing your story/writeup and the pictures!
You're welcome Ian. If you do end up in Woking next year, I can assure you that you won't regret the trip. Like Peloton25 and Boxer mention, everyone there was extremely helpful and friendly.

While admiring all of the McLarens lined up in the hall and being explained by Danielle each car's background and technological advance, a few tour groups went by on a walkway above us but they could only see those beautiful machines from afar. We felt very privileged to be down on the floor, able to touch and see up close and personal each one of these historical work of art. Did you know that the tachometer is turned on it's side counterclockwise to allow the the pilot to better see the high rev end of the dial, where the red line would be? Interestingly, there is no red line drawn on the gauges.

While on the production line, a few of the techs went out of their way to show me all the innards of the car and were more than willing to answer any of my questions, except for the IRIS part, which seems to be a closely guarded secret for now :(

Which reminds me of another bit of info I was given. At one point I wanted to show my wife how much room she would have in the front boot to put her shoes in during our many planned road trips (yes she does have a lot of shoes, and purses and..... well you know how it goes). So they popped the hood open and when came the time to close it, I was shown to place my hands far apart when pushing down to avoid warping the front end. I don't know if it's in the manual but if not, it's an extremely useful thing to know.


Cheers
 

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Our car was on it's last hours of a 20 day journey on the production line. It was being readied to do the dynamic test followed by the monsoon test. The road test was to take place at the end of that day.
Great place to visit, car looks wonderful.

Is it really 20 days on the production line, thought it was more like 5? 8 cars a day is I believe the production so that would mean 160 production stations. I guess all the paint process is included, drying, finishing etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not sure I agree with that. A couple of months ago I heard that McLaren SF had firm orders for 12 P1's. That is equivalent to about 50 MP4's, which is close to a year's worth of sales there. So the P1 will help bridge any revenue gap to P13.
I agree with you Dennis.

I found out that well over half of the planned P1 production has already been sold. I was also told that they do not sell the car to someone who they feel would not reflect well on the McLaren brand. So I guess known criminals and lawyers could not put their hands on one ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Great place to visit, car looks wonderful.

Is it really 20 days on the production line, thought it was more like 5? 8 cars a day is I believe the production so that would mean 160 production stations. I guess all the paint process is included, drying, finishing etc.
Thanks Russell, you might be correct. I did think that this number seemed high. There might have been confusion when I asked the question to one of the people that joined us on the floor. I think he might have had a bit of a problem with my french Canadian accent. I assumed that the production was around 7 days since I was given the 10th or the 16th as possible dates for the tour. I will write to Caroline to clarify. Thanks for pointing that out.

Cheers.
 

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Not sure I agree with that. A couple of months ago I heard that McLaren SF had firm orders for 12 P1's. That is equivalent to about 50 MP4's, which is close to a year's worth of sales there. So the P1 will help bridge any revenue gap to P13.
375 divided by 50 is closer to 7 than 12 if SF got 12 some other dealer is going to get 0 - averaging of course :)

A dealers service center is a large profit center - less cars / less miles / less profits.

Sale also takes a hit - less cars / less trade in's etc.

I don't know what Mclaren allows the dealer for mark up on the P1 - Porsche only allowed 50k on the CGT and zero tolerance for dealers selling above list.
 

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Sound like you had a great experience. When other potential owners hear about such a great experience it helps the brand grow!! Beautiful color choice as well!
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Sound like you had a great experience. When other potential owners hear about such a great experience it helps the brand grow!! Beautiful color choice as well!
Thanks koolaid. I love red but for me this VR is by far the nicest of all the reds.
 

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375 divided by 50 is closer to 7 than 12 if SF got 12 some other dealer is going to get 0 - averaging of course :)

A dealers service center is a large profit center - less cars / less miles / less profits.

Sale also takes a hit - less cars / less trade in's etc.

I don't know what Mclaren allows the dealer for mark up on the P1 - Porsche only allowed 50k on the CGT and zero tolerance for dealers selling above list.
Currently there are 37 dealers, not 50, which is the target for end of 2013. So that would be 10 P1's each on average. Also sales are not spread evenly over the dealers. AFAIK McLaren SF is #3 or 4 in 12C sales in the US after the 2 LA stores and possibly Miami. I believe the retailers are smart enough to size their staff and expenses to match demand.

My point was that the P1 can add incremental sales equivalent to almost a years worth of 12C sales so the dealers do not have only a single model to sell as you suggested.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Great place to visit, car looks wonderful.

Is it really 20 days on the production line, thought it was more like 5? 8 cars a day is I believe the production so that would mean 160 production stations. I guess all the paint process is included, drying, finishing etc.
Dear Russell,

I just got a reply from Caroline Haines in Woking. Here's the text:

"Yes, we generally say 20 days or around 3 weeks, from Body Assembly right through to Quality Confirmation. We don’t commit to an exact number of days as it can vary due to audits and quality control. I’ve checked this with colleagues who have confirmed that this is correct. Please bear in mind though that the chassis, gearbox and engine are all assembled off site."

So it does take time to manually build a supercar!

Cheers.
 
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