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|27th April 2011, 20:36||#1|
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Team Lotus buys Caterham Cars
By Mark Hamilton
Caterham Cars has been sold to Team Lotus Enterprise, the holding company for the Team Lotus Formula One team.
So Lotus has bought back the Caterham Seven?
No. Team Lotus, the UK-based F1 team owned by Malaysian businessmen Tony Fernandes, Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin has done the deal. You're thinking of Group Lotus, the makers of Lotus sports cars led by Dany Bahar – Group Lotus sponsors of Lotus Renault GP, the UK-based F1 team that was formerly Renault. Not surprisingly, the two organisations are currently in a protracted legal dispute over naming rights.
I'm confused - what does this mean?
It means that Caterham's existing consortium of shareholders, led by Corven Ventures, has sold the firm to an organisation called Team Lotus, which is not the maker of Lotus cars, but has a very similar name. And just to muddy the water further, Lotus originally built the Seven until it sold the rights to Caterham in 1973.
In terms of the Caterham business, the existing management team and staff remain the same, under managing director Ansar Ali, and Team Lotus is promising to expand both Caterham's brand profile and product family.
The plan is for the Caterham to go global. 'It is already a successful business with sales across Europe, Japan, Australia and the Middle East, said Tony Fernandes. '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.'
'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,' added Caterham Cars managing director Ansar Ali. 'However, the acquisition of the company by Team Lotus Enterprise will allow our existing management team to take Caterham’s core spirit of pure driving enjoyment to a hitherto un-served audience. While the Seven will now have the global springboard it deserves and will continue to be evolved yet further, we also have the opportunity to expand the Caterham family beyond the Seven and SP/300R and breathe new life into our uniquely respected brand and mature it into a truly global business.'
And Caterham is going to be branded Team Lotus?
No, Caterham remains Caterham for now. Perhaps Team Lotus will become Caterham F1 instead, depending on the outcome of their legal dispute with Group Lotus.
The first fruits of the tie-up with Team Lotus is a new range of limited-run Team Lotus Special Edition Sevens. Just 50 of the Team Lotus kits will ever be offered, with 25 destined for the UK. For £3000 you can upgrade any new Seven with the famous green and yellow colours, while also included is a cockpit-mounted plaque carrying the signatures of Team Lotus F1 drivers Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, a Seven history book signed by Team Lotus chief designer Mike Gascoyne and a tour of the F1 factory in Norfolk.
Source: Car UK
Team Lotus buys Caterham Cars | Automotive & Motoring News | Car Magazine Online
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