Tony Fernandes has officially confirmed that Team Lotus Enterprises has taken over Caterham Cars.
The company – whose cars are based on the Lotus Seven with which Colin Chapman first made his name – has obvious appeal for Fernandes, who sees a link with road cars as a commercial opportunity.
Fernandes and partner Kamarudin bin Meranun were named as directors of Caterham Cars two weeks ago in official paperwork, having bought it from previous owners Corven.
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.”
Caterham CEO Ansar Ali, who retains his role, said: “This is yet another exciting chapter in the Caterham story. 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.
“We will remain entirely true to the philosophy that we, as custodians of one man’s motoring concept, have protected for nearly 40 years. 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.”
It remains to seen whether Caterham also proved to be a fall back position should Team Lotus lose its legal fight to hang on to the name.