The British supercar company finally admits it needs a family-friendly SUV to challenge Lamborghini and Ferrari.
The SUV that had to happen at McLaren seems finally to be on the British supercar brand’s radar.
McLaren has focused exclusively on mid-engined two-seat supercars since its inception as a top-end carmaker in 2010 – aiming to create British rivals for Ferrari and Lamborghini – but a change in leadership has also resulted in a different attitude towards SUVs.
Just as the Porsche Cayenne saved Porsche and provided the financial success to continue with the 911, McLaren Automotive’s new CEO is in favor of adding an SUV to the company’s offering.
Michael Leiters also has the right experience, having helped develop the Cayenne while at Porsche and was recruited from Ferrari to join McLaren where he oversaw development of the forthcoming Purosangue SUV.
“I think it’s a really important market. It still is and it keeps growing. It’s a very attractive market segment,” said Leiters car car In the United Kingdom.
“I developed an SUV at Ferrari. I developed an SUV at Porsche, so I love SUVs. But we won’t do it for me.”
Leiters only joined McLaren Automotive in early July, but even then, news of a future SUV project was an open secret during a factory visit journey.
“It never completely went off the radar,” said an executive at the time.
Corresponding car car – as reported by journey – The McLaren SUV is not expected to be seen until the second half of the decade, and with new petrol-powered cars being banned in the UK from 2030, it could also be the company’s first fully battery-electric model.
So far, the only potential teaser is the McLaren racer in the Extreme E off-road racing series. It’s already electric and painted in McLaren’s traditional papaya racing color, but it’s a purpose-built single-seater that has nothing to do with a street car.
The obvious approach for the McLaren SUV would be to build a family-friendly four-door, but with a more “crossover” body design than mainstream SUVs with their big-box styling.
Leiters only has to look at the sales figures of his supercar competitors to see the financial advantages of a McLaren SUV.
Lamborghini sold around twice as many Urus SUVs as Huracan supercars last year, and the new DBX SUV already accounts for half of Aston Martin’s global sales.
Still, there is a big challenge for McLaren and that was one of the biggest hurdles for Ferrari on the Purosangue project.
“What we need to understand as McLaren is, ‘How can we find a product that fits our DNA?'” said Leiters.
“We shouldn’t make a classic SUV.”
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