As late as 2019, McLaren insisted it would never launch an SUV in its road car division, but it seems the success that rivals like Aston Martin and Lamborghini are enjoying with their own high-profile models is just too hard to ignore. For these competitors, a single SUV now accounts for around 50% of sales.
While there have been rumors that McLaren is planning an SUV for launch later this decade, an electric-powered one, a company executive has now confirmed that an SUV is being considered.
In an interview with Automotive News (subscription required) published Sunday, Jamie Corstorphine, McLaren’s director of product strategy, said an SUV is in the early stages of exploration but that production has not yet been decided.
“The most important thing is one [vehicle] That has more space or opportunities for a McLaren customer to share the experience with more people,” said Corstorphine Punkt.
That McLaren is finally warming to the idea of an SUV in its lineup is amid the company’s financial woes resulting from the pandemic-related slowdown of the past two years and more recently delays in the development of the new Artura plug-in hybrid supercar revealed, unsurprisingly, which the company funded in part through the sale of cars from its historic collection.
McLaren will also need more funds to invest in electrification as its UK home market and the EU both take steps to ban gas and diesel engines outright by 2035, with more countries likely to follow.
McLaren’s decision to begin racing in the Extreme E electric off-road series this year could also be construed as a need to build credibility in the world of high-performance electric SUVs before one is unveiled on showrooms.
However, don’t expect McLaren to offer a big and sturdy SUV like the Cayenne. Instead, any McLaren SUV will likely be a relatively low and compact model like Ferrari’s new Purosangue SUV.
With its new CEO, McLaren’s road car division is well positioned to launch an SUV. The company appointed Michael Leiters as CEO in April, replacing Mike Flewitt. Leiters was previously Chief Technology Officer at Ferrari, where he helped develop the Purosangue. Previously, he also worked at Porsche, where he helped develop several generations of the Cayenne.