McLaren has categorically ruled out ever making an SUV – despite luxury rivals all charging ahead with luxury 4x4s for the road.
Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce and even Ferrari are all in the process of putting the finishing touches to 4×4 models as buyers’ tastes change. However, Jolyon Nash, executive director of global sales and marketing for McLaren Automotive, has said that with the brand’s current shareholders in place an SUV will definitely not happen.
He said: “I would go so far as to say that with the management there is in McLaren today, no we would not make an SUV. We just don’t see it. For us, our DNA is lightweight, high performance and high technology – using technology for great driving experience and great driver engagement.
“An SUV is the antithesis of that. Naturally, it has a high centre of gravity, lots of unnecessary weight just to sit a little higher in the car, and that’s not a McLaren. I think if you were to ask Mike Flewitt [chief operating officer] and our engineers, they’d have the same view.”
Some would say that would likely have been the answer Ferrari would have given several years ago, but Nash says that was before it was listed on the stock market. Lamborghini has launched the Urus SUV, Bentley already has the Bentayga on sale, while Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and Ferrari have all confirmed SUVs are coming.
“Those brands have got to satisfy some external shareholders, investment funds, whatever, and they’ve got to have a different perspective on life,” he said. I think for us, our independence is what’s so important. It’s absolutely key to what this business is. You can look at brands like Bentley, who are part of Volkswagen Group, and I guess there’s different perspectives from their shareholders on what they want.
Chatting to McLaren exec: ‘A number of buyers have bought two Sennas. One for an investment, the other to drive hard.’ This one has the carbon fibre pack. Yours for a shade over a million… pic.twitter.com/DkQLoKba0C
— James Baggott (@CarDealerEd) March 6, 2018
“Independence means we can set our own course. The shareholders have bought into our strategy and they support it.”
Nash also ruled out making a smaller, more affordable McLaren sports car – something to rival the Porsche Cayman, for example. He said the costs involved in developing one for the smaller returns would make it uneconomical.
Nash said: “If we were to do, say, an £80,000 car, the kind of volume we’d need to make that pay, the investment in facilities and so on, would just make it uneconomical. We don’t want to be doing that. We’re very comfortable in our niche, the customers enjoy the exclusivity of McLaren, so I don’t see it.”