UK Prime Minister David Cameron visits McLaren opening
|By Sam Tremayne||Thursday, November 17th 2011, 13:32 GMT|
UK prime minister David Cameron was the guest of honour as McLaren officially opened the new McLaren Production Centre, home to its automotive division.
Cameron, who was given an exclusive tour of the factory before it opened to invited guests and media, said that McLaren "epitomised the spirit of hope, innovation and drive" he hopes will help the UK economy emerge from its current woes.
"Thank you for inviting me. It is incredibly inspiring," he said.
"I want the country to be respected for what we make, as well as the services we provide. McLaren, in breaking new ground, are a powerful rebuke to those who say the manufacturing base has gone.
"F1 is an incredible British success story, but they are just the high end of what is being achieved.
"These are tough times for Europe and the UK, but we have to be alive to the hope out there. Visits to places like this make me optimistic that we can in time ride out this storm and come out stronger."
Cameron's sentiments were echoed by McLaren Group chairman Ron Dennis, who said the opening of the new production centre represented McLaren's continued drive for success.
"We never stop, we exist to go faster," Dennis said. "Everything McLaren is founding has been built on the founding principles of good design and solid, seamlessly efficient engineering and manufacturing.
"Now industry is realising that Britain's grand manufacturing tradition is a solid platform upon which to build - and I want the McLaren Group to play its part in the crucial recalibration of UK plc."
The production centre has been designed from the ground up and around the construction of the recently launched McLaren MP4-12C - the reverse of the usual process.
Ron Dennis revealed 2000 of the 200mph cars have already been ordered. The aim is to increase annual production from 1000 to 4000 units.
In addition to opening the production centre at Woking, McLaren also highlighted the other sectors in which it were starting to work.
Among their guests was 2011 Tour de France Green Jersey winner Mark Cavendish, whose Specialized bike was developed and honed by McLaren Applied Technologies.