McLaren’s CEO Just Described Something That Sounds a Lot Like an SUV

The automaker had once vowed to never build an SUV

McLaren logo
We might see this on an SUV before too long.

When is an SUV not an SUV? Please note that this is not a rhetorical question. Earlier this year, Nic Brown — president of McLaren of the Americas — told Autoweek, “In the past, we have used words like ‘never’ (when addressing the question of a McLaren SUV). What we’re saying now is that we are open to at least investigating various segments, but we haven’t made a decision yet.” Now, another executive in the company has walked that “never” back even further.

McLaren CEO Michael Leiters recently spoke with Road & Track‘s Mike Duff about the future of the company. And it sure sounds like McLaren has something very SUV-like in the works.

“To unlock our full potential as a company, we believe there is a second stage, to enlarge and expand our lineup beyond the segment where we are today,” Leiters told Road & Track. “We have called this ‘shared performance,’ because you can share the performance with more people than you can have in a McLaren today.” It’s this comment that led Road & Track to dub McLaren’s latest project a “shared performance vehicle,” or SPV.

When he spoke with Autoweek, Brown cited this description for McLaren’s core business: “Mid-engined, two-door, two-seat supercars.” So really, this SPV could be anything with more than two seats — but given the popularity of the high-end SUV market, an SUV in all but name seems likely.

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Leiters also suggested that this SPV might involve collaborating with another automaker. “I think the smart way is with technology partnership, to find a partner and create synergies,” he told Road & Track. He went on to suggest that it would be a hybrid, preferably one that uses an existing powertrain. A McLaren SUV might have been the last auto you’d have expected to see — but that unlikely reality might be on a road near you before long.

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