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McLaren president details hybrid supercar that ‘revolves around this Formula 1 DNA’

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McLaren Americas President Nicolas Brown joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the auto manufacturer's 2021 performance, future product lines, its Artura hybrid, and the supercar market.

Video Transcript

EMILY MCCORMICK: Adam, let's shift gears now and talk about the outlook for autos, Formula One and McLaren with Nicolas Brown, McLaren America's president. Yahoo Finance's own producer and Auto Reporter Pras Subramanian joins us as well.

And Nicolas, thank you so much for your time this afternoon. McLaren sales were up 14% in 2021 over 2020. And your sales in North America just exceeded 10,000 as of December. What drove these results, especially in a year still impacted by the pandemic?

NICOLAS BROWN: Yeah, so first of all, thank you for having me on today. So in terms of what drove these results, so we have an incredibly, passionate, and engaging owner base. And we launched some key models here in the US. So last year, we launched the 765 LT Spider. So our very much track-focused version of the 720.

Now, this vehicle has four times the demand as we will have supply. So this was one of the key driving forces. Then we also launched the Elva at the beginning of last year. So this is our open cockpit hypercar. The Elva goes for over $2 million in the US and in the Americas. And this was also a key product for us last year.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: Hey, Nicolas. Pras here. It's frankly amazing you guys are able to sell so many of these sports cars and hybrid hypercars last year. When you guys don't have a sedan or SUV, many of your competitors, Aston Martin, Ferrari, soon to be, will soon have an SUV. Do you think that McLaren could have an SUV in its stable? Or is that not part of the brand's DNA?

NICOLAS BROWN: So we have no plans within our product plan to launch an SUV. So our focus is really on building and producing the vehicles that our customers long for. And these are driver-focused vehicles, track-type vehicles or track vehicles for the road. And everything really revolves around this Formula One DNA that our customers love.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: You know, speaking of that future and that DNA of the brand, an electrification is a big part of McLaren's future. And the Artura is the next step, the hybrid supercar. So why go hybrid here instead of full EV? And what makes it so special?

NICOLAS BROWN: Yes, so that's a great point, Pras. And the Artura, our high-performance hybrid, which will go on sale at the end of Q2, beginning of Q3 this year, really represents the future of McLaren. And it is the most significant launch that we've had since we introduced the 12C back in 2011.

And when we look at Artura-- and to answer your question regarding why not go full EV-- one of the great things about being so interconnected with racing with Formula One is that for us, it's not about bringing out a hybrid simply for the sake of bringing out a hybrid. It's about answering the question as to how will this benefit the customer? And how will this enhance the visceral feeling that customers come to expect from McLaren?

So this is a [? vehicle-- ?] a true supercar has over 670 horsepower, 0 to 60 in under 3 seconds, an incredible car to drive. But you'll have over 50 miles per gallon. And the [? e-motor ?] enables you to have just this ferocious throttle response. And actually the throttle response is the quickest out of any McLaren.

ADAM SHAPIRO: I love these adjectives, ferocious and supercar, because I quoted in the tease the fact that one of McLaren-- a 2020 McLaren just sold for 3.3 million at the Mecum auction. And I was curious. For the people who have the ability to purchase one of these incredible machines, should they look at it as an investment? Should they look at this as a reward for I have arrived at a point in life where I can enjoy something spectacular? What's the outlook for that?

NICOLAS BROWN: At the core, our customers are really focused on driving. And our customers drive their vehicles a lot. In terms of values, what we have seen is that values have gone up and strengthened considerably. And if we look at the 765 LT Coupe as an example that we launched in 2020, on the pre-owned market, those vehicles are now going 40% to 50% over the original MSRP, which is, of course, something that our customers love to see.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: Hey, Nicolas. I know lots of talk out there about McLaren's future. I know you can't comment on it specifically. But would you prefer to be part of a bigger corporate parent? Or maybe do you think McLaren prefers independent roots? It's always an independent company, even the racing car division too.

NICOLAS BROWN: Yes. So I can't say that anything in the media currently is purely speculative. We do partner with obviously suppliers. And we also work with technology partners as well as some other OEMs in developing the technologies that we have. But the core of the brand, as mentioned, is always going to revolve around that track focus, racing, and really producing vehicles that our customers expect from us.

EMILY MCCORMICK: All right, we will leave it there for now. Nicolas Brown, McLaren America's president, and Yahoo Finance's own Pras Subramanian, thank you both so much.