Mercedes-Benz and McLaren are planning a new model series

London. The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren may not be the only car developed in a joint venture between DaimlerChrysler and McLaren Cars.

"We are currently looking into possibly building a further vehicle," McLaren chief Ron Dennis said at the opening of the McLaren Technology Center in Woking, near London.

Mercedes CEO Jurgen Hubbert confirmed this: "Our focus is currently on the sales start of the SLR. But we are already looking into the future. We want to create a new brand."

Hubbert said the vehicle will be positioned between the Mercedes-Benz SL and SLR McLaren.

Dennis and Hubbert believe that a total volume of 15,000 units is realistic. But the decision to build the model has not been made.

The first 30 SLR McLarens were dispatched on the day of the technology center's opening. Total production volume of the sports car will be 3,500 units.

"The SLR took some doing," Dennis said. "In the beginning we thought we were better than we really were."

He said McLaren lost a lot of time and money during the SLR production start-up period because the company underestimated Mercedes-Benz's high quality standards.

Customers now face the consequences of these delays. According to Hubbert, a customer who orders an SLR today and pays a deposit of $50,000 will get a car at the end of 2006 - at the earliest.

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