Caterham’s new joint-venture sports car with Renault Alpine will cost £35,000 and be aimed at the premium sports car market when it goes on sale next year.
Caterham says it wants to fill what it sees as a 'significant market gap' left by Lotus’s recent woes. In particular, the brand wants to appeal to the professional female market.
Sales will be limited — Caterham is aiming for 3000 units per year — and up to 70 per cent of parts on the car will be shared with the Alpine version.
Engineers are now looking at 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre options, having reportedly rejected a 2.0-litre design put forward by Renault. A turbo 1.6 putting out about 300bhp is most likely.
Caterham is keen to link its road cars to Formula 1, so it is exploring the possibility of a KERS system being fitted.
The Asian market — and Malaysia in particular — is where Caterham is hoping to push most of its sales.
Caterham Technologies CEO Mike Gascoyne said: "When you’ve got an owner with an airline that will fly 40 million people there next year, you’ve got a big target market.
"If we do a good car, people will recognise it — and I’m confident that they’re going to. In a lot of parts of the world, Caterham isn’t that well known, and therefore we’re free to define the brand."
Gascoyne is pleased with how the joint venture is progressing, saying that it 'makes sense for as many components as possible on the two cars to be shared, including the platform.
Expect to see the car in its final production form after the Geneva motor show next March. The launch car will be followed by GT and Speed models a year later.
Alpine has already announced that its own car will cost about £50,000 when it is launched in 2016. That model will aim to rival the Porsche Boxster in terms of performance.
Caterham has also recently announced a new £15,000 entry-level model to replace its Classic 7.