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McLaren Automotive Ltd. plans to have eight dealerships in China by early 2014 as the U.K.-based supercar maker joins rivals including Ferrari SpA in betting on rising demand in the world’s fastest growing major economy.

The maker of the $350,000 carbon-fiber MP4-12C plans to sell 100 to 150 of the 592-horsepower coupes in the first 12 months after opening an initial four dealerships in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu, said Ian Gorsuch, McLaren’s Asia Pacific director. The first China showrooms will be added by mid-2013 with four more opening in 2014, he said.

McLaren, the most successful Formula One racing team after Ferrari, said in June 2011 it will spend $1 billion to unveil 13 models and variants in the coming years to lure buyers from Ferrari and Lamborghini SpA. The carmaker, which has opened 35 showrooms in 19 markets, including Japan, in the past year, is holding off on China until it has more production, Gorsuch said.

“We chose the high brand-building market such as Japan, and once we get that established we’ll start expansion” in other parts of Asia, Gorsuch said today in an interview after a press briefing in Tokyo. “We don’t have enough production; that’s why we don’t have China from the start,” he said.

Luxury car demand is rising in China, the second-largest market for Ferrari and the largest for Bentley Motors Ltd. as economic growth increases wealth.

McLaren has also opened showrooms this year in Hong Kong and Singapore.

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