Bad news for fans of family-hauling hypercars: McLaren won’t build an SUV, CEO says

mclaren wont build an suv ceo says p1 2

It’s the kind of thing that seems like it shouldn’t require formal confirmation, but we live in strange times.

McLaren won’t build an SUV, CEO Mike Flewitt confirmed in an interview with Bloomberg in Shanghai last week.

“McLaren is a sports-car brand,” he said, “and that’s exactly what we’re going to remain.”

An SUV from the company that produces the P1 and 650S supercars seems strange, but several 

Lamborghini hopes to put the outrageous Urus concept into production within three years. First unveiled at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show, it features suitably-aggressive styling, but its powertrain remains a mystery.

This of course won’t be the Italian carmaker’s first SUV – that would be the LM002 “Rambo Lambo” – but unlike that military-grade truck, it will be part of an emerging breed of vehicles that emphasize luxury as much as performance.

Porsche started it all in 2003 with the Cayenne, and it recently added a second SUV – the smaller Macan – to its lineup.

Meanwhile, Fiat-Chrysler is set to launch the Maserati Levante next year. Maserati’s first SUV is expected to feature twin-turbocharged V6 and V8 powerplants, and could spawn a future Alfa Romeo ‘ute.

Over in England, Bentley will launch an SUV of its own, and Rolls-Royce is reportedly considering one, too.

SUVs used to be little better than farm equipment, but now they’re the latest growth segment for some of the most elite names in the car business.

It’s because cars are a business that manufacturers sometimes have to chase money wherever it goes, even if it means sacrificing traditional perceptions of their brands.

A few years ago, most people would have described Porsche as a “sports-car brand,” the way Flewitt describes McLaren now. That’s obviously not the case today, and car enthusiasts and investors are still debating whether that’s a good thing.

McLaren deserves some praise for sticking to its principals, even if it means the company won’t be able to cash in on the SUV craze.

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