LONDON, April 27, 2011 (AFP) - Formula One outfit Team Lotus confirmed it had purchased British sportscar manufacturer Caterham Cars on Wednesday, vowing to develop the next generation of the company's iconic Seven model.
The SEVEN by LOTUS-CATERHAM
The Seven -- designed by Lotus founder Colin Chapman in 1957 -- has been manufactured by Caterham since 1973, when the company acquired the rights to the legendary two-seater roadster.
Team Lotus chiefs Tony Fernandes, Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin said in a statement the deal would take Caterham to "exciting new horizons."
"Caterham has a unique place at the heart of the motoring world," said Fernandes, the founder of Malaysia-based budget airline AirAsia. "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."
Under the terms of the deal, Caterham will continue to be run by managing director Ansar Ali who said the tie-up would allow the firm to become a globally recognised brand.
"This is yet another exciting chapter in the Caterham story," Ali said. "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.
"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/300.R and breathe new life into our
uniquely respected brand and mature it into a truly global business."
The Seven model was made famous by its use in cult television series The Prisoner, where it was driven by the show's hero played by Patrick McGoohan.