The Hell With It, Everyone Make an SUV

Photo: Aston Martin

I want every car company to make an SUV. Ferrari. McLaren. Aston Martin. Bugatti. Pagani. The lot.

They can make crossovers or body-on-frame machines, high-performance monsters or off-road masters. It doesn’t matter. Because people will buy them, inundating them with hundreds of thousands of dollars that they can use to develop more bonkers versions of their core products.

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Before you take to the comments, rest assured I know this makes you hate me. Everyone in the office agrees, as they think my takes tend to be terrible. In fact, upon meeting me in person for the first time yesterday, Stef said: “I’m still in shock that Mack is, like, a real person and not just a repository for all of our worst takes.”

But I promise this one is good. There is no need to own me on Twitter here. SUVs are the way toward the light.

See, we all want the same thing. We like sports cars, manual transmission, limited edition track cars and other things that cost a ton of money to develop and then rarely get purchased new by actual consumers.

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Photo: Mercedes

But these days, you could put a 1972 Chevy Vega on stilts and sell 60,000 units at $30,000 a pop. People will throw money at SUVs, even absurd and impractical ones like the Mercedes G650 Landaulet that cost six figures and require parking spots the size of Acadia National Park.

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Any car a company currently makes can become nines times more profitable by adding the following three things:

1) A two-inch lift

2) All-wheel drive

3) Thousands of dollars onto the MSRP

That may sound like a bad deal for the consumer, but thousands of people are happy to take it. Let their bad purchases subsidize our sports cars.

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Photo: Porsche

Take Porsche, for example. The Cayenne is the single best thing that’s ever happened to the company, as development costs are amortized over so many Q7s, Touregs, Bentaygas and Uruses that it’s likely the cheapest-to-develop vehicle in their lineup. At the same time, it sells thousands of units at high margins to people who would otherwise never buy a Porsche.

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So when it comes time to develop crazy nonsense like the GT2 RS, 911 R, 918 Spyder and Cayman GT4 there’s a lot more room to take risks. Porsche still could survive on their sports cars and the Panamera, but they wouldn’t be able to take these kinds of chances without heavy profits from the Cayenne and Macan providing a safety net.

Plus, all those people who insist on buying crossovers were going to do it regardless of whether Porsche offered one. The total number of crossover would remain mostly the same. The difference, then, is that rather than buying boring crossovers like the Lexus RX people now have the option of buying decently fun ones, like the Cayenne, Macan, F-Pace, Range Rover Sport SVR and Stelvio.

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Point being, the sea of milquetoast crossovers needn’t be so calm. Throw some craziness in there. W12 Bentleys and V8 Porsches are a start, but I’m sure Pagani and Koenigsegg can bring more excitement and prevent every crossover from being a front-wheel-drive isolation booth. Give me more insanity, a la the Mercedes portal-axle G-Classes, and I’ll be happy.

In exchange, they can charge whatever they want and be entirely assured that the new SUV will have a waiting list.

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About the author

Mack Hogan

Mack Hogan is Jalopnik's Weekend Editor, but you may know him from his role as CNBC's car critic or his brave (and maligned) takes on Twitter. Most people agree that you shouldn't listen to him.