Since he joined McLaren Automotive on July 1, new CEO Michael Leiters has already made it obvious he’s interested in moving past the British marque’s longstanding reputation for mid-engined supercars, Autocar reports. Now, Leiters is looking into what it would take for McLaren to manufacture a four-door — and probably electric — SUV.
If that’s a company-wide goal, Leiters is the right man for the job. In past positions, Leiters served as program manager in charge of the Porsche Cayenne, and he went on to become Chief Technology Officer at Ferrari, where he oversaw the development of the Ferrari Purosangue, the marque’s first utility vehicle set to debut later this year. With Leiters now in charge, McLaren could easily be the next high-end manufacturer to join the segment.
“I developed an SUV at Ferrari,” Leiters told Autocar. “I developed an SUV at Porsche, so I love SUVs. But we won’t do it for me. Yet I think it’s a really important market.”
Of course, McLaren wouldn’t exactly have to develop an SUV with the sole intention of pleasing Leiters. Autocar notes having learned plans were underway for a McLaren SUV in June of this year — before Leiters joined the company. If an SUV was already in McLaren’s sights, bringing on Leiters was a savvy move.
And if you’re a fan of Extreme E, then you’ll know McLaren has already debuted a purpose-built electric SUV for the off-road racing series — though that doesn’t necessarily point directly at what a future production model would look like.
SUVs from ultra-luxury manufacturers have proven to be good business. The Lamborghini Urus, for example, accounts for nearly two-thirds of the brand’s annual sales, and that’s hardly an outlier among top-tier brands.