The boss of McLaren has apologised to customers after the company was forced to recall its £170,000 supercar due of a series of embarrassing problems.
The McLaren MP4-12C was billed as a product which would ”re-write the rules of sports car design” when it was first announced in September 2009.
And while the Brit-built car has been a revelation in the performance stakes, customers have been plagued by electrical malfunctions with one frustrated owner selling his model within six weeks of taking delivery.
McLaren head Ron Dennis has now written to owners to say the car was not completely finished when it rolled off the production line and that it would need to be recalled to be fixed.
Dennis has given customers – who have parted with at least £170,000 and been forced to wait 18 months for a faulty supercar – a free book worth £50 as a ”token of his appreciation”.
In the embarrassing letter, Dennis admitted the company had ”not yet been able to deliver on the high standards that we have promised and that should come as given with the McLaren brand”.
He added: ”As you will have already heard from my staff, we are experiencing some early software bugs resulting in unnecessarily sensitive warning lights, battery drainage in certain conditions and IRIS performance issues.
”My team and the McLaren retailers are working with the pace and intensity that the McLaren brand demands to fully resolve these bugs rapidly and effectively to ensure that any inconvenience to you is kept to a minimum.
”It will however require your 12C to come back to your dealer at some point so that we can upgrade the software on your car.”
Owners have waxed lyrical about their car’s performance but they’ve also had to put up with a series of faults – with one customer reporting a dozen separate faults in his first five days with the car.
Another owner, who put his deposit down 18 months before the car’s on-sale date, was so frustrated with the continued niggles he put it up for sale after just five weeks.
He told a motoring forum how, in one day, the screen informed him his airbag wasn’t working and that the car had FOUR punctures.
McLaren has now stopped deliveries of the £170,000 supercar while it tries to iron out the glitches – with future owners who have paid for their car being forced to wait even longer than they initially anticipated.
The MP4-12C was announced with huge fanfare with McLaren F1 drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton spotted on numerous occasions in their extravagant company car.
When Top Gear tested it, The Stig lapped the show’s track quicker than the 268mph Bugatti Veyron Super Sport.
Around 100 of the cars have been delivered in the UK and Europe with the company currently building five a day which sit at the factory waiting for the software fix.
A spokesperson for McLaren said: ”We find that all new cars these days suffer electronic and software issues and these are challenging things that are hard to get right. These can’t always be covered with testing.
”It’s frustrating for owners but we are sorting things quickly and being open with customers and discussing it with them.
”Through our dealers we can communicate with customers and everything seems to be going down well. The car will be perfect in the end and in the whole the feedback we’ve received has been positive.”