Russell Blackstock

Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

A big boy's toy from Santa

Things have picked up for the super-rich and they're splashing out on flash cars

Three Kiwis are standing by to take delivery of their new McLaren P1s, which have a price tag of $1.5 million. Photo / AP
Three Kiwis are standing by to take delivery of their new McLaren P1s, which have a price tag of $1.5 million. Photo / AP

Luxury cars with eye-watering price tags are on Christmas shopping lists for New Zealand's uber-rich.

Well-heeled drivers have splashed out $1.5 million each for three "hypercars" at New Zealand's first McLaren dealership since it opened this month.

Grant Baker is buying his 'dream car', a LaFerrari worth $2.2 million. Photo / NZ Herald
Grant Baker is buying his 'dream car', a LaFerrari worth $2.2 million. Photo / NZ Herald

Auckland businessman Grant Baker this week went one better - ordering a top-of-the-range Ferrari costing $2.2m.

Baker - director of investment firm Business Bakery and a former co-owner of 42 Below with Geoff Ross - won't see his black LaFerrari model until next Christmas.

"Only 500 are being made and you have to be invited to buy one," he said. "It is a lot of money, but it will be worth even more straight after I get it - not that I'm buying it to sell. I have owned a few Ferraris but this is my dream car."

Luke Neuberger from McLaren's Grey Lynn showroom in Auckland revealed the firm, led by Sir Colin Giltrap, had been swamped with inquiries about high-end vehicles.

He confirmed that three of the top-end McLaren P1 models had already been sold and would be delivered to big-spending customers within weeks.

Neuberger said several other MP4-12C coupe and spider models - costing between $380,000 and $500,000 - had also been ordered.

"We have been overwhelmed with interest in the cars and McLaren's New Zealand story," he said. "This, combined with a competitive price structure, has resulted in several orders, including three sales of the P1 models, which cost around $1.5m each.

"We are already well ahead of what was expected and are very pleased with the response."

About 3,500 luxury McLaren cars are made each year. Countries are allocated limited numbers for sale, but Neuberger declined to say how many of the British-made vehicles will be imported for Kiwis.

Just 375 of the flagship McLaren P1 will roll off the production line. The hypercar has a 903hp hybrid gas-electric engine and is capable of a top speed of 449km/h. It can rocket from 0-100km/h in under three seconds.

The car can also be driven solely in electric mode for inner-city use.

The McLaren P1 comes with a variety of colour and trim options as well as visible carbon fibre in the cabin. Its $1.5m price tag would buy the equivalent of 50 new Toyota Corolla family runarounds or pay for a four-bedroom villa in an upmarket Auckland suburb.

Neuberger would not divulge who had bought the vehicles.

Financial commentator Bernard Hickey, from interest.co.nz, said stockbrokers and wealthy people who had watched their house prices soar this year would be among those tempted to buy.

"Traditionally, it would be people like property developers who would have the spare cash to have these kind of cars," he said. "But the stock markets have risen by 20 per cent this year, so the good times are back for the brokers, who have had their best year in decades.

"In the Auckland area in particular, expensive houses have also risen sharply in value recently," Hickey added. "Owners of these kinds of properties will be feeling rich again and are beginning to loosen the purse strings."

- Herald on Sunday

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