The Lotus Formula One team announced on Wednesday that they have acquired Caterham Cars, the British sportscar makers most famous for their lightweight Seven machine, which evolved from the Colin Chapman-designed Lotus Seven of the 1950s.
The purchase by Tony Fernandes, Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin, the men behind the Team Lotus F1 squad, from the shareholder consortium led by Corven Ventures, will see Caterham expand their brand profile and product family.
"Caterham has a unique place at the heart of the motoring world,” commented Lotus team principal Fernandes. “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."
The new era for Caterham will be led by the company's existing management team, headed up by Caterham Cars Managing Director Ansar Ali. As custodians of Chapman's two-seater Seven since 1973, Caterham have been responsible for the evolution of a car originally conceived as a 'fit for purpose' race car for the road in 1957.
"We will remain entirely true to the philosophy that we, as custodians of one man's motoring concept, have protected for nearly 40 years,” said 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.”
Fernandes’ Lotus squad made their Formula One debut in 2010 as one of three new Cosworth-powered teams. They finished tenth in last year’s constructors’ championship, ahead of fellow newcomers Virgin and HRT, before switching to Renault power for 2011.