Another British motoring brand is in foreign hands with Caterham Cars sold to Japanese firm VT Holdings.
Caterham’s Japanese importer since 2009, VT Holdings also retails several other brands in the country, including Lotus and Royal Enfield, across a 200+ dealer network and has interests overseas.
Japan has been one of Caterham’s most successful overseas markets, with around 120 cars shipped there annually.
The transfer of the long-lived company from current owners, Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun, to VT Holdings was announced on 6 April, ending 48 years of British ownership.
What changes will come under Japanese ownership are unclear, but a key consideration will be how to modernise the current range and introduce electrification that’s becoming necessary, and in some cases, mandatory.
VT Holdings CEO, Kazuho Takahashi, says he is committed to developing the brand while respecting its history and spirit.
“We have not only purchased a globally renowned performance car manufacturer but [also] become custodians of a motoring legend. We will protect and develop the Seven to meet the legislative challenges that lie ahead,” Takahashi said.
A motorsport enthusiast of 25 years’ standing, Takahashi has participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as the domestic Japan Grand Touring Car Championship and Super Taikyu series, making him a good fit for a brand that’s focussed on competition.
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.”
No impact is expected on Caterham imports to Australia in the short term. Melbourne-based Caterham Cars Australia have been Australian importers since 2006.