Fernandes: "The underlying factor is to have fun as a key part of Caterham’s cars"
Caterham’s product range could grow to include city cars and crossovers as well as sports cars in the future, according to company chairman Tony Fernandes.
At the reveal of the new AeroSeven Concept in Singapore, Fernandes - who purchased Caterham with his business partner Kamarudin Meranun in March 2011- reiterated his plans to transform the niche sports car manufacturer into a globally recognised brand with a presence in several market segments.
“This concept is the first of many new models to come out of Caterham,” he said. “The plan is really very simple: to keep the Caterham heritage – the fun, the speed, the lightweight philosophy – and produce new cars over the next five years, using our F1 team as a brand for bringing Caterham to a much bigger audience than it has been traditionally.
“British engineering is revered wherever I go in the world. Caterham has lived off one model since 1955, which is a pretty remarkable achievement. We want to put some of that great British engineering into different products that would serve different parts of the world. For example, a two-door sports car may have a limited appeal in some parts of the world, but you can replicate the fun aspect of a Caterham in a four-door city car or a crossover.
“These are thoughts and concepts but the underlying factor is to have fun as a key part of Caterham’s cars, whether you are driving in Singapore or at Silverstone.”
Fernandes, who is due to drive the AeroSeven Concept for the first time on Tuesday, is also keen to leverage Caterham’s F1 involvement to boost the car company’s profile: “We are one of 12 teams in the biggest racing series in the world so people are beginning to know the Caterham brand. Formula 1 is a big element of our plans to grow the brand.”
Despite the plans for new models, Caterham Cars managing director Graham Macdonald said the venerable Seven would remain a fundamental part of its business plan: “We will never let go of the Seven’s heritage. It is here to stay, as we’ve demonstrated by introducing three new models this year alone. That’s important to everyone all the way up to the top of the company.”
Caterham’s AeroSeven Concept is expected to spawn a production car next year and will be followed in 2016 by a sports car spawned by its joint-venture collaboration with Renault.