McLaren utility still in exploration phase

This article was originally published HERE

LAS VEGAS — McLaren Automotive is examining the SUV and crossover segment of the exotic and ultraluxury markets, a top executive at the British brand confirmed, adding no final decision has been made on such a model.

Bentley, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin have launched SUVs to great success in recent years while the first utility vehicle deliveries from Ferrari and Lotus are to start in 2023.

McLaren, however, has yet to follow suit.

“The most important thing is to provide a [vehicle] that has more space or ability for a McLaren customer to share the experience with more people,” Jamie Corstorphine, McLaren’s director of product strategy, told Automotive News on the sidelines of a media event here. “How high-riding it is, whether it’s a crossover … that’s to be decided and in fact, nothing is set at this point.”

Former McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt, who left in October 2021, was adamant that an SUV was not in the cards for the brand. But his successor, Michael Leiters, played a key role in developing the Porsche Cayenne and Ferrari Purosangue.

In an interview with Autocar this year, Leiters, who became McLaren CEO in July, hinted an SUV would be a unique proposition for McLaren.

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

Corstorphine said McLaren is early in the exploration phase.

“If we’re going to do anything, whether it’s this type of product, or any other type of product, the test for us is, can we accurately reflect the DNA of McLaren?” Corstorphine said. “That’s the bit you need to spend the time upfront thinking about and proving out.”

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