Mr. George Biggs, managing director of the iconic race and supercar brand, McLaren, has surprisingly strong insights into the automotive industry, given that his background is in business, not in the workshop.
He started out working for a management consultancy firm, and briefly at VW Group UK. “I did have some limited experience in the automotive industry,” he admits. He joined Deloitte where he focused on strategy and operations, traveling to different continents. “I was in Europe, North America and then Australasia. When I joined (McLaren) we were only producing the 12C Coupe, and then we launched the 12C Spider. Today, we have a three-model range.”
Proud of his business background, the 33-year-old admits that he loves his automotive job, “I class myself as a big motorsports fan, and I enjoy consumer products. My background was centered on commercial strategy. When I joined McLaren, I focused on commercial planning, which is something they needed at that time. McLaren is a company of motoring enthusiasts.”
Who exactly buys McLaren sport cars? “On a global level, McLaren offers sports and super cars for the motoring enthusiast,” said Mr. Biggs. “Our customer profile over the past five years comprises people who have previously owned sports cars or supercars. They’re at the point where they want something different and new that is at the leading edge of technology. I think we have a very mature customer base in the way they understand the automotive industry. McLaren as a brand is really appreciated by the autophiles of this world.” He also believes that Formula 1 has really helped the business. “F1 is obviously a very highly publicized part of what we do; they understand our heritage and our history.”
McLaren uses carbon fiber, other exotic materials, and we think outside the box. McLaren is at the absolute pinnacle of performance, design and innovation in our industry. We’re on our way to producing a billion pounds of revenue and the profits associated with that. Still, we are a racing company. We started from a racing company and that puts us in a unique position.”
The supercar company is doing well in South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. “We’ve been the leading supercar brand in New Zealand for the past two years,” he said. It’s little wonder – the company was founded by the legendary New Zealand racecar designer, driver and engineer Bruce McLaren.
Although dealing with a different set of numbers, Mr. Biggs is also elated about Singapore. “You have to put Singapore into context. Sure, it’s a high tax market, and the volume is going to be reasonably low, but it’s a strategically important market for us. We’re based here for a reason. It’s centrally located and a lot of people interact with the brand here.”
Electric Vehicles (EV) may become more and more important for McLaren in the future. As Biggs explained, “We’ve talked about electric cars in our Track22 business plan. In the future, around 2025, all our production vehicles will be EV. We’re still at the very start of this technology. McLaren is offering something exceptional in the automotive business. If it’s not the best, the finest and the most advanced, we simply won’t build it. We’re looking for drivers who appreciate, and more importantly understand our vision.”