McLaren Exploring Potential SUV Model, but It’s Early Days Yet

Almost every supercar manufacturer is now building its own SUV, but McLaren is still on the fence.

byLewin Day| PUBLISHED Dec 12, 2022 7:27 PM
McLaren Exploring Potential SUV Model, but It’s Early Days Yet
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McLaren is still considering entering into the SUV market, according to one of the brand's top executives.

As reported by Automotive News, McLaren is watching the space carefully, according to Jamie Corstorphine, McLaren's director of product strategy. Since Porsche leapt into the SUV world with the Cayenne in 2002, it has since been followed by the likes of Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, and long holdouts like Lotus and Ferrari. McLaren absence in this market is thus becoming increasingly conspicuous.

Whether McLaren develops an SUV remains a vexed question. "The most important thing is to provide a [vehicle] that has more space or ability for a McLaren customer to share the experience with more people," Corstorphine told Automotive News. That doesn't necessarily mean the company will go for a typical high-riding crossover, he adds.

McLaren's previous CEO, Mike Flewitt, was deadset against the company building an SUV. However, Flewitt left in late 2021, to be replaced by Michael Leiters. If that name rings a bell, it's because Leiters is no stranger to the world of performance SUVs. He was a key player in the development of both the Porsche Cayenne and the Ferrari Purosangue.

If McLaren does pursue an SUV, it's unlikely to be a paint-by-numbers proposition. In an interview with Autocar earlier this year, Leiters indicated that McLaren should pursue products in line with the brand's "DNA," and that it "shouldn't do a classic SUV."

For now, the company's SUV ideas remain in the exploratory stage, according to Corstorphine. According to the McLaren exec, the key is to determine whether such a vehicle would accurately reflect the brand.

Recent decades have seen McLaren become a major player in the supercar space. The company's vehicles have become glorious and outrageous totems of wealth and performance, like so many Lamborghinis that came before. Whether that edge is dulled by producing a SUV will be keenly considered by those charged with the brand's future strategy. However, with financial concerns very much front of mind after a battering from the pandemic, the lure of a big-selling SUV model may be too much to ignore.

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