McLaren Automotive won’t follow key sports car-making rivals Lamborghini and Porsche in producing an SUV any time soon, but it does plan to introduce more hybrids and eventually offer a fully-electric model.
Speaking to CarAdvice at a media even this week in Sydney, Wayne Bruce, Global Communications and PR Director, explained that McLaren’s fledgling car-making arm is already profitable enough in its eighth year of series road car production that offering a family hauler is not only unnecessary for commercial viability, but unfeasible as well.
“There’ll be no McLaren SUV any time soon,” Bruce explains. “We don’t need an SUV for financial reasons and there are no customer requests for us to build them.”
Given that every series production model is hand-assembled within the limited confines of the McLaren Production Centre at the company’s HQ in Woking, England, Bruce says there’s simply “no space to build an SUV either.”
“Most McLaren buyers will also have something like a Land Rover in the garage as well,” he continues. “We’ll leave (building SUVs) to Land Rover”.
Current production and sale sits at around 3300 limited-edition and series vehicles per year, and Bruce says there are no plans to grow that figure given current profitability. Instead, McLaren’s previously reported Track22 business plan in offer “15 new cars or derivatives by 2022” will maintain the current practice of replacing existing sports car models with new versions, if with an increasing integration of hybrid and fully-electric drivetrains.
“We will do more hybrids but not like a (Toyota) Prius,” says Bruce. “Think more along the line of our P1 hybrid hypercar (pictured),” or conventional high-performance combustion propulsion essentially with electrified ‘boosting’.
“We expect that around 50 per cent of our new cars will feature a hybrid powertrain (in the near to mid-term future).”
Bruce says that McLaren already has a working fully-electric prototype in operation, built in a Ultimate hypercar mould rather than merely as an electrified version of entry Sport Series or mid-range Super Series models.
“We have a full-EV Ultimate Series prototype in development,” Bruce reveals, admitting that the current stumbling block is excessive weight. “The problem is that, right now, we can’t offer a proper McLaren [experience] and still have it weigh in at under two tonnes.”