It was not long ago that car manufacturers had decided to look towards more conservative, more eco-friendly, and certainly more budget-friendly models. A world-wide economic recession on top of a continuing oil crisis meant that car buyers were demanding more bang for their buck. With ecologically minded legislation as the cherry on top of this car-market cake, manufacturers like McLaren, Automobili Pininfarina, and Porsche had to get creative (and electrified) to meet fuel economy demands. Now, electrified luxury is the next wave of lightning quick status symbols.
Just this week, McLaren announced its Track25 program, an update of its Track22 program, which includes 18 new cars, all of them hybrids or EV’s, by 2025. That is a tremendous step forward for a car-maker which until just five years ago was known for only one, albeit legendary, automobile. The entire plan is supposedly going to cost McLaren $1.578 dollar (£1.2 billion), meaning they are expecting a return of several times that figure.
With the newest McLaren store open for business in Bellevue in late 2019, it’s likely that some of those electrified luxury hyper cars may be humming into the next Seattle or Portland Cars & Coffee events. The McLaren Bellevue showroom is their 23rd location in North America. Those wanting to peruse local collections are welcome to the temporary showroom on 136th Place NE in Bellevue.
Despite McLaren’s short history producing road cars, the brand has already established itself as a major player in the luxury sportscar and supercar segment – and we truly feel the best is yet to come,” said Christian Chia, President and CEO of OpenRoad Auto Group and McLaren Bellevue.
If that was not a big enough sign of where things are headed, Pininfarina last week decided to no longer just design cars, but start selling them as well. Automobili Pininfarina’s new CEO Michael Perschke outlined an ambitious plan on the part of the coach-builder turned manufacturer.
“Automobili Pininfarina is a pioneering new business created to service the most discerning clients in the world,” Perschle said. “Our product portfolio will launch with an innovative, zero-emissions hypercar that represents the progression we aim to make at the pinnacle of the luxury and sports car market.”
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Add all these developments on top of the already exciting Porsche Taycan (Mission E electric sports car) and their buy-in to Croatian manufacturer Rimac (yes, the Rimac that almost killed Richard Hammond), and the picture becomes clearer: The market for high-end exotics is becoming faster, more expensive, and predominantly hybridized if not electrified altogether.
What does this mean for the local car scenes in Seattle and Portland? Expect your cars and coffee meets to become even fancier and have some new, up-and-coming badges. Expect them to want to park closer to charge ports rather than closer to Dunkin Donuts. Perhaps most controversially, expect them to not be nearly as loud when they push the starter button.
Images courtesy of Rimac, Porsche, Automobili Pininfarina, and McLaren.