Currently reading: Caterham acquired by Japanese firm VT Holdings
Japanese Caterham importer buys the firm outright and promises to "protect" its Seven sports car

Lightweight sports car manufacturer Caterham has been acquired by Japanese retail group VT Holdings, taking the firm out of British ownership for the first time in its 48-year history. 

VT Holdings has served as Caterham's Japanese importer since 2009 and claims to sell more than 120 Caterham cars per year in the region. It also imports vehicles from other British brands, including Lotus and Royal Enfield. 

The company's retail network in Japan totals more than 200 dealerships, plus it has other active investments in South Africa, Spain and Thailand.

VT Holdings CEO Kazuho Takahashi brings 25 years of motorsport experience to his role at the helm of Caterham, having raced in events including the Suzuka 1000km and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as participating in the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship and GT300 series.

Takahashi retired from top-flight racing in 2019 but continued to take part in various sports car events. 

He said: "VT Holdings is proud to welcome Caterham to the group. We have not only purchased a globally renowned performance car manufacturer but [also] become custodians of a motoring legend.

"We will protect and develop the Seven to meet the legislative challenges that lie ahead.”

It remains to be seen how VT Holdings will adapt Caterham's range of combustion-engined two-seaters as more mainstream brands progress with their shifts to electrification, but CEO Graham Macdonald said the new owners "truly understand the DNA of the Caterham brand, our heritage, our customers and our passions".

He added: "As a team, we're all excited about starting to write the next chapter for this very special brand."

Caterham no longer has a presence in the Surrey town from which it takes its name, but it remains a wholly British-based brand, with dealerships in Cheshire, Towcester, Bristol, Gatwick and Bury St Edmunds. It exports to 20 global markets, accounting for 60% of all its sales. 


Caterham reviews

Lighten up: Why a 540kg Caterham Seven is the best driver's car​

Used car buying guide: Caterham Seven​


Read our review

Car review

The Caterham Seven is a stripped-down sportscar offering one of the most pure driving experiences available. It is a true classic and available in nine iterations

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

Join the debate

Add a comment…
King6789 8 April 2021

VT Holdings is not a Japanese Company.  It is a Holding Company for those based in Arlington USA who control the defence and digital industries.

grumpy_o_g 7 April 2021

Royal Enfield is Indian.  They still have very close links to the UK and I believe the design centre is here but very much an Indian company that manufactures in India now after a fascinating history and partnership between both countries.  It would be nice to think that Cateham manufacturing stays in the UK but VT Holdings sounds like a pretty good custodian for the brand.  Let's hope it's a win-win for everyone.

Will86 6 April 2021

Odd that Caterham say Towcester when Porsche who are actually based in the town claim they're in Silverstone, presumably for the motorsport link.