Caterham will seek further joint venture projects to increase sales and target new markets
Matt Burt
4 October 2013

Caterham Chairman Tony Fernandes will seek further joint ventures with major car makers as part of his plan to expand the British manufacturer’s product range.

Fernandes’ vision for Caterham, which he and business partner Kamarudin Meranun bought in March 2011, involves growing into new areas such as crossovers and city cars.

The recently revealed AeroSeven concept is the first stage in a three-pronged strategy that will incorporate traditional Seven-based models, contemporarily styled cars such as the production version of the AeroSeven and the sports car being developed as a joint venture with Renault, and more functional vehicles.

Fernandes — who also owns the AirAsia airline — said he would like to see Caterham stray from its sports car base, with the new cars combining keen handling attributes with a more wide-ranging appeal.

However, he believes the company would have to go into partnership to fulfill his plan. “It has to be joint ventures,” he said. “When we started AirAsia, we couldn’t afford to buy planes; we had to lease them. With a car joint venture, we would in some ways be leasing other people’s technology by sharing platforms and using factories that have already been built.

“So if a car company has built a factory to do crossovers, and I can do 90 per cent [of a Caterham crossover] in that factory, I’m saving hundreds of millions of pounds in tooling. We want to keep it affordable, but as a small manufacturer you won’t do that on your own.” 

Fernandes was adamant that Caterham would engineer its own, distinct identity into any new models to ensure they retain “lightweight, fun” characteristics. “The challenge for Caterham’s engineers will be to make sure you get into the car and think, ‘This is a Caterham’,” he added.

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Comments
5

4 October 2013

A stripped down bare-bones rally crosser from Caterham might be fun. A school-run Sainsbury's-shopper soft-roader? No thanks!

4 October 2013

They would need to do it caterham style for an SUV! Stripped down no floors, no roof, no paint, maybe a turbo charged hair dryer for an engine and only 1 LCD TV.

4 October 2013

If it has a roof, it can't be a Caterham. Theirs has to be a spin on an open-top 90inch Landie with big wheels....

When did we last see a sports car company with grand ambitions? Let me think....

18 October 2013

It's official: We are witnessing the slow and painful death of Caterham.

20 October 2013
Lesia44 wrote:

It's official: We are witnessing the slow and painful death of Caterham.

It's official: you're an idiot.

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