Team Lotus have this week announced their purchase of British sportscar maker Caterham Cars.
Team principal Tony Fernandes believes that, when coupled with the marketing power of Team Lotus and Formula 1, the profile of Caterham will be raised around the globe. It is also a step towards the AirAsia-bosses dream of owning a British car maker.
“Caterham has a unique place at the heart of the motoring world,” said Fernandes. “As well as being proudly and staunchly British, it has an enviable and uniquely unblemished reputation within the industry for performance, handling and engineering excellence.
“Caterham Cars has remained wholly faithful to Colin Chapman's philosophy of 'less is more', and the DNA of the original Seven can still be traced to the newest additions to Caterham's product offering.
“It is already a successful business with sales across Europe, Japan, Australia and the Middle East, and under the guidance of the existing management team,we now have all the ingredients and the launch pad to further evolve that spirit and take Caterham to new exciting horizons with innovative products and greater global brand exposure.”
Caterham is a specialist sports car manufacturer, last year producing 500 cars for motoring enthusiasts around the world. They are famous for the Seven, based on the two-seater car designed by Lotus-founder Colin Chapman. They have recently launched the Caterham-Lola SP/300.R for the track and race day community, whilst their Superlight R500 won the Top Gear Car of the Year award in 2008.
Managing Director of Caterham Cars Ansar Ali said that this purchase will mean greater resources for the British company, and it will enable them to make Caterham a truly global brand.
“This is yet another exciting chapter in the Caterham story,” said Ali. “Until now, the resources Caterham has had at its disposal have, naturally, limited the exposure of the Caterham experience and the legendary Seven has had to rely almost entirely on its remarkable reputation and legacy.
“We will remain entirely true to the philosophy that we, as custodians of one man's motoring concept, have protected for nearly 40 years.
“However, the acquisition of the company by Team Lotus Enterprise will allow our existing management team to take Caterham's core spirit of pure driving enjoyment to a hitherto un-served audience.
“While the Seven will now have the global springboard it deserves and will continue to be evolved yet further, we also have the opportunity to expand the Caterham family beyond the Seven and SP/300.R and breathe new life into our uniquely respected brand and mature it into a truly global business.”
Team Lotus are currently in a legal dispute with Group Lotus, who are owned by Malaysian car-maker Proton, over the rights to use the name ‘Lotus’ for their Formula 1 team. This move by the team could provide them with an alternative name – Team Caterham, for example – if the courts rule in favour of Group Lotus on this naming issue.