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Team Lotus Buys Caterham Cars

Both trace roots to Lotus founder Colin Chapman.

by on Apr.27, 2011

Caterham rolls out a special-edition 7 to celebrate its sales to Lotus.

Team Lotus Enterprises has expanded its motorsports base by acquiring Caterham Cars, an investment group led by London-based Corven Ventures. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Both makers trace their heritage back to Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars, the British sports car company – with which there are no current ties.

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“Caterham has a unique place at the heart of the motoring world. As well as being proudly and staunchly British, it has an enviable and uniquely unblemished reputation within the industry for performance, handling and engineering excellence,” said Lotus chief Tony Fernandes, who also owns Air Asia.

To celebrate the new deal, Caterham plans to produce a limited run of 50 Team Lotus Seven club racers bearing the team’s green and yellow colors.

Caterham “is already a successful business with sales across Europe, Japan, Australia and the Middle East,” noted Fernandes, a Malaysian businessman, “and under the guidance of the existing management team, we now have all the ingredients and the launch pad to further evolve that spirit and take Caterham to new exciting horizons with innovative products and greater global brand exposure.”

Ansar Ali, Caterham Cars’ Managing Director, will remain with the firm despite the change in ownership.

“This is yet another exciting chapter in the Caterham story,” he proclaimed. “Until now, the resources Caterham has had at its disposal have, naturally, limited the exposure of the Caterham experience and the legendary Seven has had to rely almost entirely on its remarkable reputation and legacy.”

Caterham is the leading independent motorsport car manufacturer in the UK, producing over 500 cars in 2010, the highest volume in recent years. It is the manufacturer of the Caterham Seven, an iconic sports car first designed by Colin Chapman in 1957. Corven acquired the business from the founding Nearn family in 2005.

Caterham’s assembly plant is located in Dartford, Kent and the business has two UK retail sites located in Caterham and near Leicester.

On any given weekend, an estimated 700 drivers can be found competing in championships during the European motor sports season, Caterham claims. Further afield, the Seven is driven competitively in North America, the Middle East and Asia.

Drivers can train at the Caterham Academy.  Over 600 have so far taken the course, and in the last three years, Caterham Academies have also been set up in Portugal, Holland and , more recently, France.

More than 50 years in, the Seven remains the company’s most popular model, though the Caterham R500 variant was the Top Gear Car of the Year in 2008.

 

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