British sports car maker Caterham is driving ahead with ambitious plans to conquer Asian markets, according to chief executive Tony Fernandes, who is also chairman of QPR.
“We may be a small voice now, but we’re on our way to engineering a decent set of lungs,” he said at the Singapore Grand Prix, where the firm launched its first new ultra-performance model, the AeroSeven Concept.
Caterham was bought two years ago by Mr Fernandes with business partner Kamarudin Meranun. They also founded the Tune Group, which opened its first hotel in Edinburgh this year. The pair founded budget airline AirAsia 12 years ago and said the experience would help the motor manufacturer gain a stronghold in the region.
“We were told our plans for AirAsia could not work,” said Mr Fernandes. “Today, AirAsia has a growing fleet of more than 120 planes servicing 160 routes across 80 cities in 18 countries, carrying more than 25 million people annually.”
The AeroSeven Concept is the first in a range of accessible sportscars but the firm is also planning mainstream crossovers and small cars. It has also recently launched a joint venture with Renault to produce an all-new sportscar for both the Alpine and Caterham brands.
“Caterham will show itself to be a progressive, open and entrepreneurially powered car brand. It has been a British institution for the last 40 years, and automotive secret in many ways, but in the very near future, the Caterham name will sit proudly on crossovers, city cars as well as a range of sportscars for everyone,” Mr Fernandes said.