The British automaker McLaren is known for producing some of the fastest and sportiest supercars ever built. In an age when automobile manufacturers let down on their previous stance to never produce an SUV to remain competitive in today's market, we've seen a change in philosophy from many manufacturers. Ferrari, BMW, and many others who previously refused to build an SUV have entered into the ring with new hybrid models. Is McLaren among them and does it make an SUV model? The answer is that so far, there is no McLaren SUV but will they ever release one?
Will McLaren ever make an SUV?
According to Drive Tribe, in 2019, McLaren released a statement that very clearly answered the question. Mike Flewitt is the CEO of McLaren. In an interview, he shared his thoughts and convictions regarding the recent influx of SUVs that are being churned out by automakers who previously would not have entertained the notion of producing this vehicle style. He threw in his opinions on the SUV craze referring to the styling as "bulky, calling them "dog carriers and he vowed that the world would never see a McLaren SUV produced. It's a matter of maintaining purity in the identity of the brand and McLaren is not known for building anything other than pure sporty vehicles. He slammed the competition for relaxing their standards to get in on the SUV market and vowed that this would never be the case for McLaren. This argument in the debate over sporty SUVs was reminiscent of Enzo Ferrari's stance against producing station wagons or anything closely resembling them.
Flewitt further countered that there are plenty of SUVs being produced by other automakers and it's not necessary for McLaren to fill the world with more of them. The British brand focuses upon three key areas including the integrity of the brand the technology and the financial standing of the company. Mike believes that building an SUV would be a form of dilution for the McLaren brand. It would be an offense to the heritage of the company. The style doesn't even come close to fitting in with McLaren's branding and while he sees nothing wrong with SUVs per se, it's not something that fits in with the current McLaren technology and they would be required to start from scratch if the company was to build one. It would take research and development and that is a process that can take years to complete. Consumers do not come to McLaren when they are looking for an SUV. Rather, they come to McLaren for super fast sportscars.
Is McLaren beginning to relax on its stance against SUV production?
Are we seeing the possibility of McLaren softening its position on building an SUV? The hardcore "never" response may be softening just a little. In an interview with Hindustan Times, in late 2020, CEO Mike Flewitt admitted that he gets multiple inquiries about the possibility of McLaren rolling out a sports utility vehicle. While he recently responded to the inquiry with a firm and determined, "no" answer, he offered a little more information about McLaren's rationale for the firm stance against SUVs. Yes, Lamborghini and Ferrari have given in to produce SUVs and hybrids, but McLaren is holding on to their commitment to maintaining a purist approach. They do not believe that moving outside of their focus on motorsport, supercars, and driver cars will lend credibility to the McLaren brand. It has nothing to do with the history of the brand, but there is a possibility that we will see around the year 2022 through 2023 for the sake of regulatory compliance. He further suggested that McLaren isn't interested in making an SUV just yet. We're avoiding the temptation to read more into this innuendo than is there.
Recent teaser about possible McLaren Super SUV
Car Buzz ran a piece in April of 2020 that teased the possibility of McLaren releasing a 600 horsepower Super SUV. The vehicle is called the McLaren GTX SUV. They confirmed that the unthinkable may become a reality. It's a super sporty vehicle that surprised the world and if the GTX were to be released it would be based on the McLaren GT, featuring a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that would generate 600 horsepower and 565 lb-ft of torque that would trump the power output of Aston Martin' recently released DBX SUV. The new GTX would be a heavier car than the GT. It would still have the styling of a McLaren except for the beefier middle section. The fully loaded luxury vehicle was set to begin deliveries of the vehicle for orders placed in April of 2021 for a starting price of $210,000.
Additional confirmation of the McLaren SUV
New SUV followed up in August of 2020 with another confirmation that McLaren is moving ahead with their production of the GTX. So far, there hasn't been any retraction in print or news release form from McLaren's CEO on the stance of the company against SUV production. While this may be a touchy subject, it would be nice to hear something from the top of McLaren's leadership. So far, we haven't been able to find out any news on the status of the GTX or about McLaren's softening on its former posturing against SUV production. What we do know is that the SUV is set for release in April of 2021 and with that date, upon us, we're still waiting to hear more or to see evidence of McLaren's entry into this new territory. For now, it's as though news of the McLaren SUV is a rumor that has yet to be confirmed. Although there is solid evidence that the GTX is going to become the latest innovation in the brand's history, we think McLaren isn't ready to talk about it yet.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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