McLaren Now Has No Reason To Fear Brexit

Industry News

Unlike other automakers, McLaren is increasing its output in the UK in the run up to Brexit.

UK automakers have had to take drastic measures in the run-up to Brexit next March. Jaguar Land Rover, for example, has reduced production at its plant in Halewood, England, and is now building the Discovery SUV in Slovakia, while BMW is closing its Oxford Mini plant for a month in April. McLaren, on the other hand, is trying a different tactic.

While other automakers are increasing output outside of the UK due to increased tax costs, McLaren is moving production of carbon-fiber chassis from a supplier in Austria to a new composite-parts factory in Yorkshire, England, which has just opened. According to Bloomberg, the decision was made before 2016’s referendum on quitting the European Union, but McLaren has stuck with its plans.

McLaren has invested £50 million ($65 million) in the Composites Technology Centre to create a second UK facility alongside the company’s assembly line and technical center in Woking, near London, which is also the base of its successful Formula 1 racing team. According to McLaren, prototyping has already begun on innovating the automaker's next generation of lightweight carbon fiber tubs.

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The new plant will enter full production at the start of 2020. This will lift the average proportion of each McLaren built from UK-sourced parts from 50 percent by value to 58 percent. Despite this, however, the automaker is concerned about how to move components and cars across the UK border after Brexit. "What we are doing, like any sensible business, is scenario-planning, and trying to understand the potential changes to the status quo that may arise," commercial director Ruth Nic Aoidh told Bloomberg in an interview.