McLaren Automotive: Driven to win

Posted on 27 Jul 2017 by The Manufacturer

Supercar manufacturer, McLaren Automotive took home the top prize for Manufacturing in Action at last year's The Manufacturer MX Awards, organised and hosted by The Manufacturer. Peter Osborne lifts the bonnet to find out what drove the company to enter.

The McLaren P1 & 650S Spider - image courtesy of McLaren Automotive.
The McLaren P1 & 650S Spider – image courtesy of McLaren Automotive.

The McLaren brand has been around a very long time, consistently synonymous with excellence and winning, particularly in F1. After years of co-habitation with the F1 division, McLaren Automotive started life as a separate business in 2010, with the sole purpose of developing and manufacturing the world’s finest sports cars.

It has enjoyed meteoric success, as operations director Alan Foster told me.

“In the short span of time that McLaren Automotive has been selling products – we sold our first car in mid-2011 – we have launched over 16 different models with a further 16 planned in the next five years. There are now over 11,000 McLaren supercars in market, annual revenue has risen to in excess of £680m in just five years, while generating year-on-year profit (EBITDA).

“We have a full order book for 2017 and having generated an additional 250 high-tech automotive jobs last year, we believe McLaren has truly reshaped the world of the Super Sports car – a seismic shift!”

Last year, Alan led his team to the podium at The Manufacturer MX Awards gala dinner to collect their trophy, as exemplars of great Manufacturing in Action.

This article first appeared in the July/August issue of The Manufacturer magazine. To subscribe, please click here.

You’d be forgiven, in light of the rarefied world in which McLaren Automotive lives, for thinking that entering a business awards competition, particularly one as rigorous and demanding as The Manufacturer MX Awards, would be too much of a distraction, but Alan Foster would take issue.

“Nothing in life that is good is easy,” he said. “By involving the team in the judging, we took responsibility for reinforcing the credibility of the awards, as evidenced by the scale of last year’s event. These are ‘real’ awards – being judged and recognised by your peers is one of the strongest reinforcements anyone can receive.”

The judging process for most of the The Manufacturer MX Awards categories involves teams of judges visiting each nominee’s site, to interrogate the claims made in the nomination papers and to dig beneath the surface of any hype that may have crept in.

Alan Foster (second from right) and the victorious McLaren Automotive team at the The Manufacturer MX Awards 2016. They were also highly
Alan Foster (second from right) and the victorious McLaren Automotive team at the The Manufacturer MX Awards 2016. They were also highly commended in the Innovation & Design category.

Undergoing that process, and coming out on top, proved a real morale booster for the company, Foster told me.

“Internally at McLaren this has been massively productive. It has generated a buzz in the team and drawn more and more people into our unique manufacturing challenges.”

As anyone who has met Alan Foster will testify, McLaren Automotive’s drive for excellence is founded not just on the supreme reputation the brand has won, starting decades ago under the legendary Bruce McLaren himself, but on a profound belief in British manufacturing.

“As someone who has grown up, and developed to their fullest potential in the manufacturing industry, I know how important it is to the UK economy. We underestimate the strength of Brand UK, and our manufacturing prowess is legendary. Anything like The Manufacturer MX Awards that projects this ability within our nation is important.”

On that basis, would he encourage others to get involved?

“Absolutely – we should be shouting what we do from the roof tops!”

Celebrate with us

The Manufacturer will be hosting the largest celebration of UK manufacturing, The Manufacturer MX Awards ceremony and gala dinner 2017, on 16 November in Liverpool.

The ceremony is the culmination of a year-long entry and judging process, where 1,000+ industry leaders will join to network and reflect on the success of British manufacturing.

The awards ceremony is co-located with The Manufacture Live series of events across 15-16 November.

For more details on the ceremony and to book your tickets, please visit: