There's an obvious reason why.
Here's the good news: final work of the McLaren 765LT will proceed as planned. The bad news? Other projects further behind in the development phase are now behind schedule. Blame the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to the Automotive News Weekend Drive podcast, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt said the virus outbreak will likely put the supercar company about two years behind schedule.
"This [the pandemic] will have interrupted our momentum. This will have cost us probably two years," Flewitt admitted. "2020 we're going to do very little. I think it'll take us the whole of 2021 to climb back where we are now."
Flewitt is referring to the Track25 program, an ambitious $1.6 billion plan that will see the launch of 18 new models and variants by 2025. The end goal is to make McLaren's entire lineup hybrid.
Pausing McLaren's momentum is not easy and has been quite painful considering its solid sales success last year, but Flewitt stressed the importance of maintaining a positive attitude.
"We are an ambitious company. I always like to think that this competitive spirit comes from our motorsports background because we're always pushing forward," he explained. "You can in the darker moments think 'This is such a shame, to have interrupted that momentum'. On the other hand, all of your energies go into 'How am I going to manage this? How are we going to keep the business moving forward? As you get to where we are now, how are we going to climb out of this?' We have two cars to launch this year, the 765LT and the Elva, and it'll be a bit more challenging to get it done. I think you keep yourself very focused on the challenges… but the trajectory is only interrupted temporarily and we will fight back through this."
It's still too early for a complete business plan damage assessment, but there's a decent chance Flewitt will have to make some tough decisions in the months ahead. Mainly, which development programs are priority and which are less so. Variants of some models might have to be pushed aside entirely in order to remain focused on all-new vehicles, such as the upcoming next-generation Sport Series, which currently includes the best-selling McLaren 570S Spider. Resources can only go so far.
While McLaren's Track25 plan may soon be renamed Track26 or Track27, there's no doubt the automaker will assess the damage, lick its wounds, and successfully implement a new plan.