McLaren was as firm as 2019 that it would never launch an SUV in its road car segment but it seems hard to ignore the fact that success rivals like Aston Martin and Lamborghini are enjoying with their own high-riding models. In the case of those competitors, a single SUV is now responsible for 50% of sales
Autocar McLaren reported on Wednesday that it was working on an SUV for the second half of the decade, powered by an electric car.
The move comes as McLaren faces financial problems following the epidemic-related recession of the past two years, the need for UK electrification investment and now the EU’s move to ban internal-combustion engines by 2035.
It was also the financial difficulties that led Porsche to launch the Cain two decades ago. Even McLaren F1 designer Gordon Moore’s new car company is working on an electric SUV.
McLaren’s decision to start racing this year in the Extreme E Electric off-road series could also be interpreted as the need to build credibility in the world of high-performance electric SUVs before launching in showrooms.
Don’t expect McLaren to offer a big and rough SUV like the Cayenne though. Instead, Autocar claims that McLaren’s SUV will be a relatively low and compact model, similar to Ferrari’s Purosangue SUV, later this year.
With its new CEO, McLaren’s Road Car Division is in a good position to launch an SUV. The company named Michael Leiters as CEO, replacing Mike Flewitt in April. He previously served as Ferrari’s chief technology officer, where he assisted in the development of Porsangu. He also previously worked at Porsche, where he helped develop several generations of Cayenne.