McLaren Performance Technologies (Nasdaq: MCLN – news) announced today that it will open the McLaren Vehicle Development Center dedicated to advanced concept vehicle development for Ford Racing Technology and other related Ford vehicle programs.

Located in Livonia, Mich., the 15,200-square-foot facility is expected to be operational by late Fall 2000. The company will staff the center with current employees involved in vehicle development and is expected to hire an additional 25 to 30 new employees.

The center will encompass design, fabrication and vehicle assembly capabilities to build complete prototype and concept vehicles. It will feature six vehicle hoists, an alignment rack, complete fabrication and machine shops and a prototype paint facility. The opening of the McLaren Vehicle Development Center will free up space to accommodate new business in the company’s existing McLaren Engines facility, also located in Livonia.

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with Ford Racing Technology to serve their prototype and concept vehicle needs,” said Wiley R. McCoy, president and chief operating officer (COO) of McLaren Performance Technologies. “This expansion is testimony to Ford’s confidence in McLaren as a resource for product development programs.”

McLaren has worked with Ford on various projects, including the FR500 Mustang — an advanced prototype, high-performance project vehicle unveiled at the 1999 SEMA show.

Livonia, Mich.-based McLaren Performance Technologies provides full- service design, development, fabrication, testing, validation and certification of automotive powertrains and related components, development and licensing of patented traction systems, as well as complete vehicle development and prototyping capabilities. The company’s 51,300-square-foot, ISO 9001-registered facility houses machining, fabricating and welding shops, as well as engine and vehicle build areas, to support its engineering design, development and testing services.

McLaren Performance Technologies, which serves the automotive, racing, aftermarket and marine industries, has four business units: McLaren Engines, McLaren Traction, McLaren Vehicle Development and McLaren Manufacturing. The company currently has approximately 100 employees who serve such automotive customers as Ford, General Motors, Delphi, New Venture Gear and Steyr Powertrain. The company’s 1999 sales were $4.86 million and sales for 2000 year-to-date, as of August 31, are $10.4 million.