British supercar maker McLaren Automotive rode a wave of global demand for its expanding lineup to record profitability and sales in 2016.
The automaker reported Thursday that pretax profits for 2016 were 9.2 million pounds ($11.9 million) on revenue of $844.7 million. That's a 70 percent increase from 2015 profits and marks the fourth consecutive year of profits for the independent McLaren brand.
Much of the company's higher profit tally in 2016 reflected the popularity of its expanding Sports Series lineup. Demand for the higher-volume vehicles, positioned as the gateway to the McLaren brand, led to total sales of 3,286 in 2016, a 99 percent increase from 1,654 in 2015.
The Sports Series -- made up of the 570S, 570GT, the not-for-U.S. 540C and the forthcoming 570S Spider -- accounted for 2,031 global sales in 2016. Starting at $191,100, the 570S and other Sports Series models have allowed McLaren and its dealers to lure new customers to the brand and challenge more established high-end sports car nameplates, such as the Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi R8, Aston Martin Vantage and Acura NSX.
"The 570S has brought in a whole new group," Ramin Naimi, general manager of McLaren San Francisco, told Automotive News. "Customers from other brands have started to add it to their fleet and their shopping list."
McLaren is hoping the success translates into strong demand for the 570S Spider, given that convertible iterations are immensely popular among exotic car enthusiasts.
North America -- driven by the U.S. -- remained McLaren's biggest market, accounting for just over a third of global sales. North America deliveries rose 106 percent to 1,139 in 2016. The automaker also expanded its retail footprint in the U.S. in 2016, adding dealerships in Boston and Palm Beach, Fla., for a total of 19. Another store is planned for Denver in 2017. There are two in Canada, with a third one planned for Montreal in 2017.
Despite plans to launch the 570S Spider and the redesigned, Ferrari-fighting 720S in 2017, McLaren cautioned that 2016 was likely the highest level of year-over-year growth for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the brand is on track toward a goal of 4,500 global sales by 2022.
At least half of those models will feature hybrid powertrains, a costly r&d venture that will rely on the sales and profits from the new 720S and the Sports Series. Those profits will be essential for McLaren to keep up with its deep-pocketed rivals; Ferrari has FCA behind it while Porsche, Lamborghini and Audi have the strength of the Volkswagen Group behind them.