McLaren sold some historic cars to fund Artura development


McLaren has started selling off cars from its impressive heritage collection to fund development of new products, a company spokesman told Bloomberg in an interview published last week.

The cash-strapped race team and supercar builder needed the funds to pay for the development of “certain technical upgrades” for the Artura. The development of these upgrades were the cause of delivery delays for the plug-in hybrid supercar, McLaren said in November during a third-quarter earnings call.

The Artura was first shown in early 2021, though customer deliveries only started mid this year. McLaren hasn’t said what upgrades were made to the car.

McLaren also hasn’t said what heritage cars were sold. The collection includes a diverse array of cars, including 54 Formula 1 race cars and several F1 supercars. McLaren continuously updates the collection and has sold cars from it in the past.

McLaren F1

McLaren F1

The latest sale keeps the cars in the McLaren family as they were sold to Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding, Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund which owns 60% of McLaren. Bahrain first bought a 30% stake in McLaren in 2007, during the height of the global financial crisis. More recently, it has bought additional shares and provided rescue loans to McLaren as the company struggled with liquidity following 2020’s onset of the pandemic.

Saudi Arabia was also tapped for cash in 2021. That year also saw McLaren sell its famous Woking, U.K. headquarters in a sale-and-leaseback deal.

During McLaren’s earnings call, the company said Bahrain had agreed to inject another $125 million into its coffers, and that it will need yet more funding as its liquidity at the end of the third quarter was just $106 million, down from $208 million a year ago. McLaren also said it reported a loss of $247 million in the nine months through September, up from a loss of $84 million for the same period a year ago.

The turmoil at McLaren saw Mike Flewitt leave his role as CEO of the supercar arm at the end of 2021. He was replaced by former Ferrari executive Michael Leiters in July. There are rumors McLaren may now enter the lucrative SUV segment, something that was ruled out during Flewitt’s time at the company.

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