Could McLaren Build An SUV?

Thu 1st Sep 2022

Many decades of supercar tradition are slowly being eroded by the current trend for SUVs, and now one of the most exclusive sports car brands of all, McLaren, have hinted that they could be dipping their toe in the water.

While Premium brands such as Jaguar and Mercedes have taken an early dive into the world of SUVs, the true supercar brands have taken a little more time to think how an SUV might fit into their range.

The appeal of an SUV cannot be ignored though, and ‘if everyone else is doing why can’t we’ is slowly becoming a mantra for the automotive industry. Budget brands are enjoying a slice of the SUV pie, and at the top end we even see news of Rolls-Royce and Bentley coming to the market.

Speaking to Autotrader this week, McLaren’s new automotive head honcho, Michael Leiters has given the strongest hint yet that the British brand could be looking to develop an SUV. Rumours of an all-electric SUV have been circulating all summer and now  Leiters looks to have given those whispers some credence.

“I developed an SUV at Ferrari,” Leiters told Autocar. “I developed an SUV at Porsche, so I love SUVs. But we won’t do it for me. Yet I think it’s a really important market. 

“It still is, and it continues to grow. It’s very attractive as a market segment.”

While the McLaren boss clearly has a passion for SUVs, it will be profit which will change hearts and minds at the company, which has traditionally developed low-slung sports cars with a hefty price tag. Rivals such as Porsche and Aston Martin have seen significant sales of their own SUVs, while Italian supercar manufacturer Lamborghini have made a success of the Urus.

How or when McLaren might develop an SUV is a major topic for debate. It has long been understood that the company might have to partner with a major manufacturer to pull off the SUV trick, but Leiters is keen to retain the iconic brand’s independent spirit.

“What we have to understand as McLaren is 'how can we find a product that is in line with our DNA?'. We shouldn’t do a classic SUV,” he said.

“We have to maintain our DNA; I'm not interested in any partner which gives me only 'me too' technology. So the question is to find the right partner; the question is not to find a partner.”