Exotic automaker McLaren has picked Putnam Leasing to handle leases for the relaunch of the brand in the United States.
Putnam, of Stamford, Conn., specializes in financing small volumes of high-end new and rare collector cars, said Putnam CEO Steven Posner. Customers often "lease-to-own," meaning they buy their cars at the end of a lease. The idea is to keep monthly payments lower so cash can be invested someplace else, he said.
The MP4-12C is McLaren's first car of its own since the F1 in the early 1990s. The manufacturer, an expert in using carbon fiber, has been building engines and cars for others. For instance, McLaren built the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster a couple of years ago.
Customer deliveries of the McLaren MP4-12C began month, Joseph said in a phone interview. Prices start at $231,400, including freight.
"The difficulty is, not only is there a new car, it's a new automotive company. You've got to find a finance company that really, really knows that market," said Tony Joseph, director of McLaren's North American region. "That's where the bulk of their (Putnam's) experience is; in super-luxury cars, super-sports cars."
McLaren's New York-based subsidiary has nine U.S. dealers and one Canadian dealer signed up. McLaren hopes to sell around 150 cars in the first year and eventually reach 700 annually in North America, Joseph said.
Putnam also creates so-called "substitution of collateral" leases, where a customer can change cars and keep the same monthly payment, Posner said.
"More people are leasing these cars because they want to hold onto their money," he said. "Why invest money in an asset that's going to depreciate?"