The McLaren-built Mercedes-Benz SLR supercar is due to be launched this year, but the project is at least nine months behind schedule and millions of rand over budget.

The McLaren-built Mercedes-Benz SLR supercar is due to be launched this year, but the project is at least nine months behind schedule and millions of rand over budget.

According to , production of the R4-million hand-built two-seater has been delayed twice; first last year when it was pushed back from March to September, and again last month after the parent company reorganised McLaren Cars and its managing director, Andrew Walmsley, resigned.

CARtoday.com reported in August that McLaren would build the gull-winged SLR for Mercedes under contract at its new R3,2-billion complex near Woking in Surrey, and around 50 a year would be made.

The SLR would be powered by an AMG-developed 5,5-litre V8. The powerplant has been supercharged to deliver around 414 kW and 700 N.m of torque and top speed is 320 km/h (unless electronically restricted on production versions).

Production was scheduled to begin in November, Mercedes-Benz said, but declined further comment.

Meanwhile, the SLR’s début at next month’s Geneva motor show has been scrapped in favour of a launch at September’s Frankfurt event. The car, which weights just over 1,36 tons due to the use of aluminium and carbonfibre in the frame and a lightweight composite folding roof, has ceramic disc brakes, adaptive headlights, brake-by-wire and Mercedes’ latest accident prevention technology, Pre-Safe.

Sources suggest that the car was delayed because manufacturing problems needed to be solved and issues over interior and production quality had not yet been resolved.

Cost overruns said to exceed R729 million have also dogged the project, which was originally projected at about R1,62 billion. A total of 3 500 cars were planned over seven years, in contrast with the original plan that called for 2 500 cars over five years.

Although the SLR is tipped as “an excellent supercar” by company insiders, reported that “a clash between McLaren’s F1-inspired engineers and Mercedes’ hard-nosed production engineering team” had contributed to the delays.

Cost overruns were discovered late last year and forced Mercedes-Benz to introduce a new purchasing boss, Ola Kallenius, to replace Briton John Perrott at McLaren.

DaimlerChrysler owns 40 per cent of TAG McLaren, which includes plastics, electronics and road car engineering businesses as well as Ron Dennis’ F1 team.

Original article from Car