Caterham logo

Caterham logo

Caterham, builder of the legendary Lotus Seven track car and a Formula One racing squad, has ambitious plans to expand into the world of road cars. Its Malaysian chairman Tony Fernandes, who founded the airline AirAsia and only bought into Caterham in 2011, wants to turn the brand into the ‘Porsche of Asia’ and envisages launching a range of performance-oriented models including a possible flagship supercar.

Of course, building up a new brand, especially one barely known outside the world of motorsport, is not something done overnight. That’s why Caterham will start off with just one road-going model, a new sports car aimed directly at the Porsche Cayman and Lotus Exige S.

To reduce the cost of the vehicle’s development, the new sports car will share its platform and technology with a sports car from Renault, which is to be sold under the French automaker’s rejuvenated Alpine brand.

Beyond the sports car, which is due in 2016, Caterham will launch at least two additional models. Speaking with Reuters, Fernandes revealed that Caterham is already at work on a new SUV and a subcompact, once again in partnership with Renault.

Caterham’s two new models are expected to arrive soon after the 2016 launch of its sports car. They would be semi-built at Renault plants in France and then shipped to Asia for final assembly.

"Sports cars will do well but the city car and SUV are what the (Asian) market really wants," Fernandes said. "If we get the SUV right it will be huge."

The Malaysian exec finally added that he wanted to mimic the success of the Range Rover Evoque with the SUV model.


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