McLaren has long been resistant to the idea of introducing an SUV, despite many of its competitors doing that in recent years. However, with a new boss leading the British carmaker, things could be about to change.
Industry veteran Michael Leiters took over the reins of McLaren Automotive on July 1 and has already acknowledged that the SUV market is very attractive but that it would need to fit with the brand’s DNA.
Leiters is the perfect man for the job should McLaren want to grow its range to include an SUV. In fact, he led the development of the Cayenne while working at Porsche and more recently, led the development of the forthcoming Purosangue while serving as Ferrari’s technical chief.
Read More: McLaren Names Ex-Ferrari Tech Chief Michael Leiters As CEO
“I developed an SUV at Ferrari,” Leiters told Autocar in a recent interview. “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. It still is, and it continues to grow. It’s very attractive as a market segment.”
The new boss of McLaren insisted that while the company is pondering such a vehicle, he says it still remains in the discussion stage and that other models are also being considered.
He noted that given that there is some overlap within McLaren’s existing range, an SUV would obviously sit in a unique position in the line-up and likely wouldn’t attract buyers away from other models.
Separately, Leiters acknowledged that McLaren is interested in working alongside a partner for future models, but failed to acknowledge whether rumors of potential tie-ups with BMW or Audi were true.
“You have two sides of a partnership, one is technology and one is financial,” he said. “And if you find both in one, definitely that will be the best. But the first thing is to have a technology partner to create synergies. But it has to be the right partner. We have to maintain our DNA; I’m not interested in any partner which gives me only ‘me too’ technology. So the question is to find the right partner; the question is not to find a partner.”