McLaren Won’t Hop on the SUV Bandwagon, Report Says

Milquetoast crossovers are all the rage even among supercar manufacturers, but McLaren refuses to bow to the trend.

byJames Gilboy|

Crossovers are the ticket to swollen sales figures in 2018, but McLaren Automotive won't play ball with the latest automotive trend.

The company's executive director of global sales and marketing, Jonathan Nash, stated that SUVs (and by extension, crossovers often miscategorized as such) were uncharacteristic of the British supercar manufacturer, and that McLaren has no intent to manufacture such a vehicle.

"We’re reasonably comfortable with the template we’ve established with Sports Series and Super Series and I don’t see that changing enormously in the future," Nash said in an interview with Motor1. "I think we’re pretty clear on this at McLaren. Part of our success is that we’re consistent in what a McLaren is, and every car must be true to that DNA. It’s fundamentally a lightweight, mid-engined supercar/sportscar. Every car should live up to that and it should be engaging to drive."

"We would not deliver on what our promise of what a McLaren is if we did an SUV. Management and shareholders are of the same view in this instance," Nash added. "Our business plan is to stick to the cars we’re fundamentally producing at the moment and generating a healthy return. As long as we’re generating healthy returns there’s no need to compromise our brands."

Jonathan Nash acknowledged the electric route that some of McLaren's competitors are exploring, and let slip that while McLaren too is evaluating an electric vehicle with a test mule, the company will make no electric cars unless they offer a convincing alternative to internal combustion for driving pleasure.

"Only when the technology can provide a true McLaren driving experience will we build an EV."

McLaren does not appear to be in need of an SUV or similar vehicle to keep up with its chief competitors. Its 2017 was the company's best-ever, buoyed by exploding U.S. market sales, which make up a third of the demand for McLaren's cars. It even outsold Lamborghini by a hair in the states, and maintained its lead through February. The Urus crossover launch later this year may see Lamborghini surge back past McLaren, but hardliners may find their opinions of Lamborghini soured as a result. A pyrrhic victory, if you will.

In The Drive's conversation with McLaren's continental vice president of communications Roger Ormisher on the company's record sales figures, McLaren's hesitance to build an SUV was formally reiterated.

"If we have overtaken them, that’s a nice achievement in just 6 years of selling in this market," said Ormisher to The Drive. "But remember, they have Urus on the way, so it may be short-lived, as we have absolutely no plans for an SUV!"

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