McLaren launched a hybrid Plug in Artura – who we have already fired – and has a new CEO, Michael Leiters, who came from the main rivals Ferrari.
Two important steps that are like the “start” of recovery from the crisis caused, in large part, by the covid-19 pandemic.
McLaren Automotive, perhaps as a small independent manufacturer, was one of the worst affected automakers. From the record year of 2019 in terms of international sales (4662 vehicles registered) it dropped to almost a third of that amount in 2020 (1659 units) and accumulated 900 million euros of losses, having registered only small savings in the previous year.
MUST SEE: V6 hybrid with 680 hp. McLaren Artura on the road and on the track
The shock wave was immediate, with the sale of 33% of the shares of the Formula 1 team, the dismissal of 25% of the company’s employees (no less than 1200 people) and even the sale of the headquarters in Woking (England). ) and rent them immediately for your own use.
There was also capital and major shareholders (mainly a Saudi Arabian fund) and, in the last quarter of 2021, the company’s managing director, Mike Flewitt, who had been in that position for 10 years, was fired.
Time to turn the page
The recovery strategy – the previous business plan covered the period 2015-2022 – is currently being outlined by the new managing director, Michael Leiters, who took office on July 1, 2022.
And the new “boss” of McLaren Automotive could not come from the most unexpected places: the founder of Ferrari.
Leiters, at Ferrari, was his technical director, having developed the first production hybrids of the Ferrari brand. a stuffed horse – 2019 SF90 Stradale and 296 GTB which has now entered the market.
These strengths of yours may be necessary to expand your role as the leader of McLaren in areas that would not normally concern you, but this is the right time to ignite the McLaren prototype – a mission that will be completed in 2026, according to the current plan – starting precisely with Artura .
But there are already talks later at McLaren and, along with electricity, the discussion of the addition of a new model, perhaps an SUV, is “on the table”.
Hybrid yes, long term electricity only
Artura is the first hybrid Plug in production lines – if we do not count the P1 and the reduced Speedtail – and a new generation of electric models will follow.
But these should continue to be hybrids and not electric, as Leiters says in an interview with motor vehicle: “For supercars, I think the pure battery electric technology is not there yet.”
The CEO of McLaren “points his finger” at the many hundreds of extra kilograms that the electric car has – McLaren is distinguished by its models which are usually the lightest in its class – and which has a significant impact on the range.
That’s not to say that electrification won’t happen at McLaren, but Leiters sees them arriving more in time and therefore highlights the importance of combustion engines in the future, “especially in our segment”. And he hopes that “the regulatory system will allow us to continue doing business in this niche”.
SUV? You too, McLaren?
One must count on the fingers of one hand the products that today do not have an SUV or a cross – even Ferrari is preparing to launch one this year – and McLaren is one of them.
Regardless of one’s opinion, the fact that the SUV has an impact on the accounts of these companies cannot be disputed – see the recent cases of Aston Martin and Lamborghini, for example.
And Michael Leiters brings the right experience with him. Not only was he responsible for the development of Purosangue at Ferrari, he was also involved in the development of the Cayenne while he worked at Porsche.
“I made an SUV at Ferrari. I made an SUV at Porsche. That’s why I love SUVs.”
Michael Leiters, CEO of McLaren Automotive
But despite the restart, Leiters is currently not confirming whether McLaren will have an SUV in the lineup, as he said. motor vehicle: “What we have to understand as McLaren is how do we get a product that matches our DNA? We don’t have to make a regular SUV. And to be very honest, we still haven’t decided to do it or not and we don’t have a clear idea.“.
“That’s why we are still at the beginning, which new market segments can we pursue and which product concepts can we use to win new business opportunities. It’s not just SUVs; there may be others”, concludes Leiters.
The fact is that it should be something completely different from the version we are used to from McLaren, which, Leiters recognizes, is too similar and needs more differentiation. That’s why he says that “if we go into new areas, we have to make sure that these are completely different from our current areas.”
Source: motor vehicle