Famously, McLaren has refused to join the SUV crowd; refused to join the likes of Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley, Aston Martin and so forth. This hasn’t changed.
“There’s more than enough SUVs in the world,” McLaren boss Mike Flewitt tells TopGear.com, “and we don’t need another one. That’s sort of the flippant side,” he laughs.
But the reasoning is a little deeper than that.
“Effectively when we look at products – and we’re always looking at product concepts – is that there are three measures. One is around the brand, one is around the technology and the other is around the financials.
“So, the brand: an SUV is only going to dilute the McLaren brand. Our brand and heritage is motorsport and great drivers’ cars. SUVs are great, they have their place, but they’re not great drivers’ cars. They utterly dilute the driving experience so it makes no sense,” he said.
On the engineering side of things he noted how “a great many” of the big, luxury SUVs were all made by the same group, sharing the technology to make their own 4x4s fit the character of each brand.
“Nothing wrong with them,” Flewitt said, “but we don’t have a technology set that suits an SUV, so we’d be starting from scratch.
“And we’re not arrogant to think we can go up against the Range Rovers and Cayennes of this world with a better can than them overnight,” he said.
Third and finally, money. “We don’t have the technology and we’re not going to be first in the market, so what’s the point? You have to invest from scratch and we wouldn’t make any money out of it.
“After all that, why the hell would we do this?” he laughs. The customers too aren’t really chomping at the bit to get a McLaren SUV.
“The customers love what we do,” Flewitt said.
STORY Vijay Pattni