Team Lotus Enterprise has bought British sportscar maker Caterham Cars for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition by Tony Fernandes, Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin, the men behind the Team Lotus Formula 1 team, from the shareholder consortium led by Corven Ventures, will see the lightweight sportscar manufacturer expand its brand profile and product family.
Caterham will continue to be led by the company’s existing management team, headed up by Caterham Cars managing director, Ansar Ali.
Fernandes said: “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.
“Caterham Cars has remained wholly faithful to Colin Chapman’s philosophy of ‘less is more’, and the DNA of the original Seven can still be traced to the newest additions to Caterham’s product offering.
“It is already a successful business with sales across Europe, Japan, Australia and the Middle East, 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.”
Team Lotus Enterprise is a separate company to Group Lotus, which is owned by Malaysian manufacturer Proton and produces cars like the Lotus Elise and Evora.
Team Lotus was granted a license to use the Lotus brand name in 2009 for its F1 team but that license has since been revoked by Group Lotus chief executive officer Danny Bahar.
Group Lotus and Team Lotus have been locked in a High Court battle and are awaiting a ruling to see if Team Lotus will be able to continue using the Lotus name for its F1 activities.
Fernandes was originally intending to build up the Lotus brand name with his F1 team before making an offer to the Malaysian government to purchase Group Lotus entirely.
Fernandes is also group chief executive officer of budget Malaysian airline AirAsia.
Now industry commentators believe the purchase of Caterham will see Fernandes developing affordable Caterham sports cars priced between £20,000 and £40,000, and promoting the Caterham name through his F1 team.