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Why McLaren killed the MP4-12C

The McLaren MP4-12C was introduced in 2011.

The British pretender to the Italian crown of the Ferrari 458 Italia is going after just three years to clear production space in Britain for McLaren’s newest model, the 650S.

It is being dumped as McLaren also builds its insanely fast P1 hybrid flagship and moves quickly on a plan for a cheaper sports car that will go head-to-head with the Porsche 911.

The death of the oddly-named 12C is a surprising move as it was only introduced in 2011, although poor sales in Australia - and most other countries - led to a price cut of nearly $100,000 last year.

But there is a farewell bonus for owners, with a free upgrade package that includes new active aero software to improve stability and cut high-speed drag, a improved infotainment system and external window switches. McLaren also promises discounted upgrades on 650S equipment including a reversing camera and satellite radio.

“Yes, the 12C is going. In future, 100 per cent of production is being focussed on the 650S,” the brand operations manager for McLaren in Australia, Jay McCormack, says.

“The only cars coming now will be bespoke build through McLaren Special Operations, but this will be less and less.”

The death of the 12C is announced from Britain by McLaren’s chief executive, Mike Flewitt.

“We have decided to cease in light of the success of 650S. We will focus all our capacity at the McLaren Production Centre on 650S.”

There is already a six-month waiting list for the car - priced from $441,500 as a coupe, and an extra $44,750 for the Spider - and McLaren says there are forward orders from Australia until the end of 2014.

“The first customer 650 gets here next month. We hope to fulfil all our existing orders by the end of this year,” says McCormack.

There are also a handful of 12Cs, as the final sales total for Australia tops 50 cars thanks to the price cut.

“We are still selling 12Cs for 2014, and I have my hands on a few of those. They are predominantly Spiders, but I have one coupe,” says McCormack.

This reporter is on Twitter: @PaulWardGover