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McLaren has kyboshed an SUV but not an EV. Local boss George Biggs clears a few things up | Q&A

It's seems that a McLaren SUV is off the table. But an all-electric McLaren EV?

Flying in to witness the start of the Formula 1 year at the Australian Grand Prix gave us the perfect chance to corner McLaren's Managing Director Asia Pacific, George Biggs.

RB: You’re 33, that’s very young to be a managing director of any company let alone McLaren Asia Pacific. Where are the bodies buried, George?

GB: [laughs] If I told you that I’d have to put you there, too.

RB: Tell us a bit about your background? Were you a car guy before you started with McLaren?

GB: I studied economics and then I joined Deloitte as a managing consultant where I worked with a huge amount of different companies – Coca-Cola, Jaguar-Land Rover, the NHS – and I specialised in commercial strategy. I’ve always been passionate about cars but more specifically about delivering consumer products.
I was a huge motor sport fan and as somebody who’s interested in cars, that made it an obvious choice to join McLaren in 2012.
McLaren is a hugely progressive company and we had huge ambitions back then and looking at a global focus. For me that was hugely inspiring. In 2016 I was made MD of Asia Pacific – I’ve had huge amounts of fun since I’ve joined. It’s been an exciting journey.

RB: Now everybody is doing SUVsFerrari’s doing one and even Lotus has just announced it will make one. Are we going to see a McLaren SUV?

GB: It is certainly not in the plan.

RB: Dammit, I tried to catch you out there with the ask-Dad-and-then-ask-Mum trick. See I threw the same question at Alex Long the global head of product last year. It’s like you two met and decided on an answer.

GB: [laughs] Exactly.

RB: Your global head of sales Jolyon Nash recently said McLaren would never do an electric car. Surely that came out of his mouth wrong. McLaren will do an electric car at some point right?

GB: I have seen the interview and quotes from Jolyon. He basically said they want to understand the way we can use technology to deliver a better driving experience and I think he was referencing the electric element as something we’re looking to explore and understand. I think Jolyon was maybe speculating on how we could use it and when we could use it, more than never.

RB: Now the 2018 Formula one season has started how important is it to the automotive side of McLaren that the F1 side is successful?

GB: We’re all McLaren fans. We’re all eager to see us return to the front of the grid, but from a selling-cars perspective we really have a compelling product in its own right. Our focus on the automotive side is to deliver the best products in the segment and the best owner experience – that’s what drives us.

RB: What’s your favourite McLaren – past or present?

GB: If I could pick one car for my own garage I would choose 675LT Spider. That car is so engaging, it’s such an exciting thing to drive and the Spider element allows you to enjoy it open-top. I had the pleasure of driving it through New Zealand and it was such a stunning experience.

RB: And if you could pick something to park beside it, which doesn’t have a McLaren badge, what would it be?

GB: I really like the Porsche 356. That is a stunning car – but then those cars are extremely rare. I just think the analogue element of that is really exiting – that would be a car that I would have outside of McLaren.

Do you think McLaren should do an SUV? Would you buy one? Tell us what you think in the comments below.