Andreas Bareis has already established the standalone quality in the business, and has been rolled out to all actives within the concern. He relentlessly strives hard and continuously looks forward improving the quality of the products and the services. We sat down with him to learn more about the importance of this new addition of responsibility and his goals for the future.
What is the importance of Middle East for McLaren?
It is a very good question, I think the Middle East and GCC especially Bahrain is maybe the most strategic point for us. For the Middle East, and the people that are living here, a car is really a key part of their life. It is what they want to be seen in and what they want to experience and for the people that live here they always want to have the latest technology and from an innovation point this is what we can offer, it’s a great product but also the key point is obviously that the Middle East and Bahrain is so important to us. We the McLaren automotive company is a stand-alone company are we are owned by Bahrain our key shareholders are from Bahrain. Obviously if you think about certainly our shareholders that brought to us this relationship they are the key people to make McLaren as successful you know, because they were a part of McLaren from the start and obviously now they can see the great benefit out of it, we are certainly proud in the UK headquarters and also proud to have great shareholders in Bahrain that are so supportive.
What are the latest models launched by McLaren for the year 2016?
We just launched the three tier product families the Ultimate Series including the very famous P1, the Super Series with the 12C our first model and that was superseded by the 650S which on sale already here and then the new series that we have just generated is the Sports Series. We launched last year the 570S. This year at Geneva we launched the newer version of this car which is the 570GT. We are now selling that car right now and you can order that car and it will be delivered after Ramadan. We also started selling the 540C which as part of the Sports Series is the entry level McLaren based on performance and price.
Are there any plans to launch a complete new hybrid car this year?
At the moment we are doing very well using the combustion engines. If I give you a glimpse of what is happening in our factory in the research department linked to our innovation drive. We do not just want to copy and paste what others are doing we want to be at the forefront of this new technology where people are copying us. That is what we have already achieved with special segments of the car like the power drain strategy. There are so many avenues that we check so we have the competitive edge and we have lots of research on all these different aspects. We are looking to launch a new hybrid car towards of the next six year period somewhere near 2022.
Are there any plans for McLarens to launch a family car?
Our main strategy at the moment is not to become just another iconic sports car manufacturer but to be the iconic sports car company. We are not trying to broaden our portfolio and make SUVs or sedans we are only concentrating on bringing the latest and greatest innovations and giving you the best sports car. This is our DNA our drive and our focus on a day to day basis so if we spread ourselves to wide we would compromise ourselves and we do not want to do that.
Let’s talk about the new 650 S Spider?
Specially that it had a great review and reached an unparalleled success in sales.
In the Super Series we have the 650 S in coupe and spider versions and the 675 in coupe and spider versions but this model has completely sold out.
Let’s talk about the new 570 S Coupe?
What is, the new technology equipped, engine specification and the dynamics performance?
If you go a bit further down in terms of performance and price and a slight drop off of performance you get to the Sports Series where we have the 570 S, the 540C and the 570 GT.
In the future of McLarens hybrids, is there any new research or plans for a new or an alternative technology?
We continually research all the possibilities of what we can do with a hybrid engine to a fully electrical engine. Unfortunately at this moment in time I can’t tell you exactly what we are doing. McLaren always looks around and will try to continually surprise our customers. So never say never. We can confirm that we are evaluating a fully electric prototype in the Ultimate 6.
Chief Executive Officer’ Mike Flewitt has stated that the research and engineering will continue to achieve the best, the goal is to have a 100% electric car and McLaren will invest one billion pound by 2022 to accomplish a worldwide mark. What are your thoughts in this subject?
Obviously when you consider the evolution from a normal combustion engine to where we are now there have been such huge improvements and we are now just starting to understand the electrical side of it. There is a lot off potential there but for us at McLaren it is important for us to get the driving experience. In our minds we do not want to sacrifice something from that experience or introduce something that would take something away from that driving experience. We do not want just to have something because it is the flavour of the day. We want to give the customer the best driving experience ever. This is the Ethos of McLaren.
One thing that we are spending a lot of time researching is the time it takes to recharge your car. Another is the performance, also the weight of the car and the range, how far can the car travel before you have to recharge the car. If you drive aggressively on a track how long will you be able to drive like that compared to driving slowly through countryside on slower roads. These are all the things that we have to think about and this leads to the research and development activities.
Is there any pressure from the UK government due to the pollution or is it that McLaren are being responsible in their future choices in protecting the environment in order to be a role model in a worldwide scale?
I think it’s a mixture of everything. There is nobody telling us we must do this. We have different legislation requirements from a global point of view. There are emission targets that you can offset by hybridisation of your entire fleet of product portfolio. We are always responsible at McLaren from an environmental point of view. We have responsibility from global legacy requirements but at the end of the day it is solely our decision. We are not being forced by somebody. We sit down and discuss our forthcoming plans like the Track 22 with our shareholders and then they are happy with it and support our plans.
We have already the P1 out there with this technology and there are other companies especially one in America which this is their core activity but certainly if we do something it comes from our DNA and our racing heritage and our racing environment. In racing you always want to win and this is how we see our competition in the market we want to beat them and have the best and this is our intention. Whatever we offer in our sports cars must be iconic and give us the competitive edge in technology. We want and have to do it to the best of our capabilities or we do not do it at all.
What is the toughest challenge McLaren have faced?
That’s a very good question. The biggest challenge we have faced is if you get into this very competitive and hard market, sports cars are all about performance and to establish ourselves as a newcomer in this field was very hard. The 12C our very first road car where we demonstrated our great performance and that we could challenge all our competitors was a huge success but it was very hard to establish ourselves because it wasn’t just to deliver a car it was to establish ourselves in this market. We had to expand very quickly our company and get more employees but also to maintain those exceptional levels of quality from McLaren. Not just the design and build of the car but also things like service and of course we had to do it all in a short period of time. This was a massive challenge but we got there in the end.
Now we are in another chapter. We are in a market where we compete with other companies for example like the German sports car makers. Our challenges are changing. One of the biggest challenges is meeting demand. We do not want our customers to have to wait a long time for their cars but we have constraints, we have a limited quantity so unfortunately some people do have to wait to get a McLaren car. Our focus now is on customer satisfaction. It’s not just about selling the car we want the whole journey to be just as spectacular as driving the car. We want services to be an amazing experience so that creates customer loyalty. It is important that we have the right partners when they are selling the car for us. We want everything to be the best possible experience that it can be for the customer and we constantly look at ways to raise the bar for the quality of service and after sales care.
Our next challenge is to get our brand out there even more. It is a huge effort needed to make the brand more famous. We know that our products are great but how can we share our knowledge and expertise with the world. We want to create a bigger buzz and have even more customers knocking on our doors. We are achieving this and with the Sports Series we have pre orders even in the Middle East where people are not the most patient and do not like the concept of paying then waiting for their car. They want to pay for their car and drive it home the same day. There is not one single challenge there are lots of different challenges. Our goal and mission is to become the iconic sports car manufacturer.