Caterham has a new owner. The new ownership will be a Japanese company that was previously the official Caterham importer in Japan. According to a media report, Caterham could launch an electric Seven in the not too distant future.
As early as March 31, 2021, Caterham Cars Ltd was acquired by leading Japanese automotive group VT Holdings from its previous owners, businessmen Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun.
This is an exciting moment in Caterham’s history, a statement said. “VT Holdings, who has assumed custodianship of our legendary British brand, already has close connections to Caterham Cars. Since 2009, VT Holdings has operated as the official Japanese importer for the Seven, where it currently sells over 120 cars annually.”
According to a spokesman, the Caterham brand and the new owner are also said to be a very good fit for another reason. VT Holdings CEO Kazuho Takahashi is a passionate racing driver and has raced in the JGTC, Super GT and Super Taikyu championships over the past 20 years. It can therefore be assumed that the manager has enough gasoline in his blood to be able to lead a brand like Caterham successfully and with passion.
Kazuho Takahashi: “VT Holdings is proud to welcome Caterham to the group. We have not only purchased a globally renowned performance car manufacturer but become custodians of a motoring legend. We will protect and develop the Seven to meet the legislative challenges that lie ahead.”
Graham Macdonald, CEO of Caterham Cars, added: “Takahashi-san and the team truly understand the DNA of the Caterham brand, our heritage, our customers and our passions. As a team, we’re all excited about starting to write the next chapter for this very special brand.”
Asked by Driving.co.uk about a possible electrified future, a company spokesperson said: “We’ve always got one eye on the future and embrace new technology when we can. While there are no immediate plans in place to develop an electric Seven there is certainly appetite from the new shareholders to explore an electric car in the future. We do think there would be interest in an electric Seven, or similar vehicle, under the Caterham name.”
However, there will be no e-Caterham in the near future: “Currently we do not think the electric drivetrain options available to us would suit the Seven and we aren’t prepared to sacrifice its character and driving experience.”
Nevertheless, it seems that Caterham will have to deal with the issue in the future. “Technology in this area is obviously moving at a fast pace and we will be ready to embrace the right technology as soon as its available and suitable for our products.”
As early as 2020, CEO Graham MacDonald had said: “We have a car that weighs 450 to 500 kilos, the batteries would add another 300 kilos and you would be looking at £100,000 RRP just to cover the cost of the battery and power plants, so for us it’s not viable.”
The future will show how the new owners evaluate the subject.