Published on April 11th, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Caterham Cars Sold By Tony Fernandez To Its Japanese Dealer
Malaysian-owned Caterham Cars is now a Japanese-owned one.
Did you know that the iconic sports car company Caterham Cars was actually owned by Malaysian business man and Air Asia owner Tony Fernandes since 2011?
Until a few weeks ago, there was little or no updated information coming from this very niche sports car manufacturer until its Japanese importers, VT Holdings assumed custodianship of the British sports car manufacturer on the 31st of March 2021.
For those unfamiliar with VT Holdings, they are the official importers for the Caterham Seven to Japan for the last 12 years since 2009. In addition to shipping about 120 of these lightweight sports cars to the land of the rising sun however, the company is also responsible for the official distribution of Lotus cars and Royal Enfield motorcycles over there.
Aside from its Japanese dealings where they have over 200 dealerships nationwide, the VT Group has further interests further afield with dealerships and investments in South Africa, Spain, Thailand and even in the UK. More interestingly perhaps though is the fact that its CEO Kazuho Takahashi is a true blue auto enthusiast, having raced competitively in JGTC, Super GT and Super Taikyu championships for the past 20 years.
So expect to see these opened wheeled two seaters that were conceived in the 50s still be rolling off the Caterham production line for the foreseeable future. And if there are any Malaysians wanting a piece of that lightweight British sports car action, the brand has actually recently restarted sales locally.
Three variants of the Caterham Seven are currently being offered locally: 310S, 420R, and the 620S. Pre-tax prices of which range from RM 233,000 for the simplistic 310S, to RM 688,000 for the supercharged 620S that is capable of a blistering 0-100 km/h time 2.79 seconds.
Meanwhile, this small sports car manufacturer has been slowing gaining popularity around the world and due to its limited production numbers, waiting lists have been extending and in 2018, Caterham posted its best ever sales for two decades.
PRESS RELEASE: On Wednesday 31st March 2021, Caterham Cars Ltd was acquired by leading, Japan-headquartered automotive group, VT Holdings, from businessmen Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun.
This marks an exciting moment in Caterham’s history as VT Holdings, who has assumed custodianship of our legendary British brand, already has close connections to Caterham Cars. Since 2009, they’ve operated as the official Japanese importer for the Seven, where it currently sells over 120 cars annually.
As one of Japan’s largest retailer groups – with over 200 showrooms nationwide and investments in UK, Spain, Thailand and South Africa – VT Holdings is also the importer for a collection of two and four-wheeled British brands, including Royal Enfield and Lotus in its home market.
Motorsport, and the global track-day communities, have always played a central role in Caterham’s commercial success and has shaped the development of our road-orientated vehicles. The brand now joins a group led by Chief Executive Kazuho Takahashi, who shares the same passions, having raced competitively in JGTC, Super GT and Super Taikyu championships for the past 20 years.
Commenting on the acquisition, Takahashi-san said: “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, chief executive 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.”
Research and Text by Joshua Chin