Is McLaren having problems selling 399 units?

In late 2019, McLaren introduced the Elva, a unique, open-cockpit road car based on a race car design from the 1960s. The company’s lightest road-legal vehicle, it’s also McLaren’s most powerful non-hybrid car. Priced from almost $1.8 million, the Elva was scheduled to be built in 399 units, but McLaren recently dropped that figure to 249. The decrease is the result of feedback from customers who think that the Elva isn’t exclusive enough.

McLaren Has Decided to Cut Production of the Elva From 399 to 249 Units Exterior
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That’s the word from McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt in an interview with the Australian Financial Review: "The feedback from our customers is that they think the car should be more exclusive than that, so we’ve capped it at 249."

Did McLaren over-estimate market demand for the Elva?

McLaren Has Decided to Cut Production of the Elva From 399 to 249 Units Exterior
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While the British firm claims that customers wanted more exclusivity, Autocar suggests, quoting unnamed sources, that McLaren actually over-estimated market demand for the Elva.

So instead of keeping order books open for a long time in hope that all 399 units are sold, the Brits decided to slash production by more than 30 percent. This rumor makes some sense, as McLaren would have some difficulties in returning 150 down payments and cutting so many customers out of the Elva loop.

So while McLaren didn't have problems selling 500 units of the 675LT in just a few days, it's probably struggling to move 399 Elvas.

Given that the roadster is the second-most expensive McLaren after the Speedtail — it costs some $700,000 more than the Senna — it’s probably not that easy to find 399 people that are willing to spend $1.8 million on a car right now.

McLaren Has Decided to Cut Production of the Elva From 399 to 249 Units Exterior
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The tighter-than-usual demand isn't surprising. The small niche of high-performance roadsters has been flooded with new models in recent years.

Ferrari produced 500 units of its SP1 and SP2 Monza models, Pagani delivered 40 Huayra BC Roadsters, while Aston Martin and Bentley recently introduced similar vehicles as well. Aston Martin sold 88 units of the V12 Speedster, while Bentley took 12 orders for the extremely limited Bacalar. Add these figures up and we’re talking about McLaren trying to sell 399 cars to a market that has already purchased more than 600 exclusive and very expensive roadster. We’d say McLaren is lucky to have found 249 buyers for the Elva.

The McLaren Elva is one of the most advanced vehicles of its kind

McLaren Has Decided to Cut Production of the Elva From 399 to 249 Units Interior
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The Elva stands out in just about every department as a stunning performance car. Its design is based on McLaren’s iconic Can-Am cars from the 1960s, but it also incorporates smart aerodynamics. Even though it doesn’t have a windshield, it keeps the driver safe from strong winds thanks to a virtual canopy created by a J-shaped duct that curves the air flow from the front of the car and sends it away from the passenger compartment.

It’s also lighter than any other McLaren available today, including the Senna, while featuring a beefed-up 4.0-liter V-8 that cranks out a whopping 804 horsepower. While not as quick as the Senna from 0 to 62 mph, which makes sense given the open-cockpit layout, the Elva is a tenth-second quicker to 124 mph.

McLaren Has Decided to Cut Production of the Elva From 399 to 249 Units Exterior
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With only 249 units in production, the Elva is the second most exclusive McLaren after the Speedtail. The latter is restricted to 106 units, just like the iconic F1. Actually, the Elva will go in production as soon as McLaren builds all 106 Speedtails.

McLaren Elva specifications
Engine 4.0-Liter V-8
Horsepower 804 HP
Torque 590 LB-FT
0 to 62 mph 3.0 seconds
0 to 124 mph 6.7 seconds
Top Speed >200 mph
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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