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2012 McLaren sports car
Detroit is third stop for limited-production, $250,000 sports car

Start saving: The 2012 McLaren MP4-12C, a nearly $250,000 two-seat sports car, will go on sale in the United States next summer and buyers will vie for about 300 available in the first year.

McLaren, of Formula One racing fame, created McLaren Automotive Ltd. to distribute a line of cars starting with the 12C.

The mid-engine car made its North American debut last month at the Pebble Beach Concurs d'Elegance in California and is on a mini-roadshow. It arrived Tuesday in Detroit, its third stop.

A North American subsidiary, based in New York, was formed in July to oversee the 10 initial dealerships: nine in the United States and one in Canada.

The plan is to expand to 23 by 2015. Of those, 20 will be in the United States, and Detroit could be added after 2013, said Anthony Joseph, regional director, North America.

Globally, McLaren will start with 35 dealers and grow to 70.

Pricing will be announced by November and will be in the $225,000 to $250,000 range.

The car will be hand-built at a new facility adjacent to the McLaren Group's technical center in the United Kingdom. It will be complete in April and start making 2012 models for North America.

The car launches in Europe in January as a 2011 model with the early cars built in the tech center.

Plans are to build about 1,000 sports cars next year and grow to about 4,000 vehicles annually.

The car's twin-turbo V-8 generates 592 horsepower. To be lightweight, it has a carbon fiber body, no door handle and a single hinge on the dihedral door, referring to the angle of the opening that many associate with the Mercedes-Benz SLR, which McLaren sold from 2005 to 2009 before the two companies parted ways.

"We learned about how to make vehicles and about quality," Joseph said of the Mercedes experience.

"But we decided we wanted our own car and our own sales and distribution."

"We want to position the brand as more accessible," said Lynne Arciero, marketing manager for North America.

source: detnews

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