Caterham is currently developing a subcompact model and a crossover SUV with Renault, as the UK sports car maker plans to become a global premium automaker.
Caterham Chairman Tony Fernandes said that the models will be launched in 2016 after the first sports cars, under the Renault Alpine and Caterham brands. Both automakers rely on their Formula 1 presence to have a start for their performance models. Founder of AirAsia, Fernandes, purchased Caterham in 2011 and he also controls the Caterham F1 team, powered by Renault engines.
“Sports cars will do well but the city car and SUV are what the (Asian) market really wants,” Fernandes said in an interview. “If we get the SUV right it will be huge.”
Caterham hopes to reach the success of the Range Rover Evoque, as runaway sales of the model have increased profits for Tata Motors and Jaguar Land Rover. The two automakers presented their partnership in November, besides the agreement to sell a 50% stake in Renault’s Dieppe plant to the airline company, creating the Alpine Caterham venture. The new Caterham models developed in partnership with Renault will be shipped in Asia, to be assembled there.
“This is a project for the Caterham brand based on a Renault platform and destined for Asian markets,” Renault’s spokeswoman said. “There is currently no plan to extend it to Alpine.”