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Are McLaren’s customers asking for a car for family use? ‘Yes,’ replies the 51-year-old engineer. ‘This is an effect every [successful] brand has, a customer is falling in love with your product. Why shouldn’t you offer something for a totally different purpose without negating your brand DNA? I think there are very, very good examples in the market which have shown how it works.’

McLaren’s new CEO loves SUVs, says the segment is “really important”

Michael Leiters took over the reins in July and recently told Autocar that a McLaren SUV was at least being discussed.

McLaren Extreme E electric off-roader

25 August 2022 at 08:40

By: Christopher Smith

Published by: Brian Potter

Will McLaren offer an SUV? That question has been asked repeatedly for the last few years but as of August 2022, the answer is inconclusive. Under the helm of former McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt, the response was no. Now, Michael Leiters is the boss of the UK-based supercar brand. And his take on the subject isn’t quite as firm.

Speaking recently to Autocar, Leiters openly admitted that he loves SUVs, seeing the segment as “attractive” and still growing. However, he also noted that the prospect of a McLaren SUV was still very much a subject of discussion at the company.

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

McLaren Extreme E electric off-roader
McLaren Extreme E electric off-roader
McLaren Extreme E electric off-roader
McLaren Extreme E electric off-roader
McLaren Extreme E electric off-roader
McLaren Extreme E electric off-roader
McLaren Extreme E electric off-roader

There’s certainly a business case for offering some form of SUV or crossover. Leiters’ former company Porsche continues to see tremendous success with SUVs, with Cayenne and Macan sales far exceeding those of all other Porsche models combined in 2021. Lamborghini just celebrated its best half-year sales performance ever, driven by the Urus which accounted for just over 60 percent of sold vehicles. And of course there’s Ferrari, which is poised to launch its first SUV in just a few weeks.

Rumours of a looming McLaren SUV were fanned in part by the automaker directly, back in December 2021. McLaren debuted a one-off electric SUV racer built for competition in the Extreme E championship. Earlier this year, we reported on another Autocar story claiming that McLaren was already working on an electric SUV, launching in the second half of the decade.

More From McLaren:

⠀ McLaren Solus debuts as single-seat, track-only special with 829 bhp

⠀ McLaren building 12 SLR race car restomods for $350K plus donor car

At the very least, we know McLaren’s new CEO is open to the idea of a super SUV. Whether it pans out that way, morphs into some kind of super crossover, or simply disappears completely, all remains to be seen.

Looking for more discussion on supercars and electric performance? Check out the Rambling About Car