British sports-car maker Caterham Cars on Thursday announced its entry into the Indian market with the launch of Caterham Cars India at this weekend’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix. The launch will be made in association with the young heirs of the promoter family of Dabur India Ltd-Mohit Burman and Gaurav Burman. The Burmans plan to set up an assembly unit in Greater Noida by end-February and invest about $10 million into this unit in the next couple of years.
These would be hand-built, made on order niche cars meant for racing enthusiasts of SEC A and A+ class in the age group of 35-45 years. While the two brothers will chair the Indian operation, Matt Cummings, an experienced British Sports car racer, will also be a key investor in the project.
Gaurav Burman said the unit would be in place by March 2012 — and they would invite the customer to be a part of the car-building process along with the engineers. The car would be made as per the needs of the individual.
“A Caterham Car would cost you something between Rs 28 lakhs to Rs 90 lakhs; so we are targeting the affluent, racing enthusiasts of India who are well aware of niche racing cars. The launch is scheduled at exactly the right time just as the brand new Indian Grand Prix signals the arrival of Indian motorsport on the world stage.”
Dabur has plans to take the venture ahead too. The promoters would set up a Caterham academy by the next year to train race drivers for India. They will set up a Caterham driving experience near Buddh International Circuit to give first hand touch and drive experience to people for fun and weekend outing. Both these centres will be set up shortly after the assembling unit and would run parallel to it.
Caterham Cars India will be focused on establishing the brand in anticipation of new products currently in development by Caterham Technology and Innovation (CTI), the engineering division recently created following the acquisition of Caterham Cars by Tony Fernandes. CTI will be responsible for the development of a completely new line of accessible and affordable sports cars inspired by the lightweight, minimalist philosophy of the Seven and drawing on the advanced technologies and materials from the Group’s Team Lotus Formula One operations.
Their launch in India implies Caterham Car’s expansion plans in Asia after its launch in Malaysia and China respectively. These cars are hugely popular in countries like Japan, Gulf, UK, France and Spain. In India, these cars would be promoted by showcasing it to individuals, corporate houses and in the circuit itself.