The long-term future of Caterham Cars looks to have been secured following its acquisition by the owner of the Team Lotus Formula 1 outfit, Tony Fernandes.
Fernandes exclusively told Autocar he will aid Caterham’s evolution with new products, increased distribution and exposure to new markets, while protecting Caterham’s heritage. A tie-up between Caterham and Team Lotus is planned, too.
Current Caterham owner Corven, a venture capitalist group, has sold up in full to Fernandes. The current management, headed by Ansar Ali, will stay on.
Fernandes’ plans for Caterham will be revealed in full at the British Grand Prix in July, where the Team Lotus F1 tie-up will become clear. “Team Lotus is a platform to promote Caterham,” said Fernandes.
Ali is credited with overseeing much of Caterham’s recent success — including record profits in 2010 — and is sure Fernandes is the right man for Caterham.
“We both want to evolve, not revolutionise,” he said. “The Seven will remain at the heart of everything.”
The takeover of Caterham is being celebrated with a special-edition Seven in Team Lotus livery, limited to 25 units.
Tony Fernandes Q+A
Why have you bought Caterham?"I always wanted to use F1 to get into a road car business. We had hoped it would be Lotus, but that went horribly wrong. I looked at other options and Caterham jumped out.”
What can you bring to the firm?“I am a brand builder. I take great assets and build them up. Caterham is a sports car company with lots of heritage and is a brand we can take places.”
How will Caterham be involved in F1?“There’s a natural fit with a supercar brand and F1. And with Caterham’s Lotus heritage, the two can have a symbolic relationship.