In an interview with the British Car magazine, McLaren CEO Michael Leiters has confirmed that, finally, also McLaren concedes to the pressure of the market and will build an SUV.
After Ferrari, McLaren is one of the last sports car manufacturers to give in to the market pressure. For long, luxury and ‘real’ sports car manufacturers declared they would never produce such ‘monsters’ as power SUVs.
Now, the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Culligan are already on the market. Moreover, sports car manufacturers like Aston Martin already have one (the DBX) or are projecting one in the future, e.g., the Ferrari Purosangue or the Lotus Eletre.
Like the last one mentioned, the new McLaren SUV (as yet unnamed) will be fully electric. There’s a chance that the structure will be primarily made of carbon to keep in line with the other products of the English manufacturer. Leiters has charged McLaren’s Composite Technology Centre to investigate whether this can work for big SUVs.
Michael Leiters is a German mechanical engineer who started working at the famous Fraunhofer Institute before joining Porsche and later (in 2014) Ferrari as Chief Technical officer. With this history, it’s logical that he is also an advocate of the Porsche Cayenne and the Ferrari Purosangue.”Why shouldn’t you offer something for a totally different purpose without negating your brand DNA?”, he asks in Car magazine.
The new SUV will also be the first electric McLaren, as Leiter sees no future (yet) for pure electric true sports cars. “For today’s supercars, pure-electric technologies are not mature. It would not be a convincing car.” Leiters is, of course, referring to the weight of the actual lithium-ion batteries and says they will have to wait for a next-generation (solid state?) before they can fit in a genuine sports car.
It’s not excluded that McLaren will be working together with other car makers to get the new crossover right. Recently, there were rumors of BMW and McLaren talking to each other and combining their respective competencies.
Leiters will have to do better than his compatriot and fellow engineer Tobias Moers, who has already left Aston Martin again. He’s also reasonably critical about the course the company followed until now( and that it’s still losing money. Apart from the recurrent quality problems he definitely wants to cure, he thinks his cars are too much resembling each other.
Name-giving has been a problem, too; that’s why the new hybrid Sports car, Artura (finally arriving), has a name and not a number. That will be the case for every future McLaren, including the SUV. The latter is expected in 2026.
“I’m totally convinced this company can be profitable,’ he concludes in Car. “I would like to leave a company that is at the top of supercar manufacturers and can react to all changes. I want it to be sustainable and to continue to be successful.”