Caterham gears up for China sales

The Chinese appear to have developed a taste for traditional British sports cars, with Caterham Cars announcing that its famous Seven will be sold there.

The company, which manufactures about 500 cars and home-build kits a year, 55 per cent for export, says they will sell between 30 and 50 vehicles there. Engines are provided by Ford and assembly is in Dartford, Kent.

The competitive pound and a burgeoning middle class will help Caterham to plug into breakneck growth – China has overtaken America as the biggest auto market in the world. Caterham will, though, be lucky to escape the counterfeiting which has irritated makers from Daewoo to Rolls-Royce. Caterham's David Ridley said: "Our entry into the Chinese market is another tangible sign of how Caterham is striving to become a truly global brand."

Caterham bought the rights to the Seven in 1973 from Lotus, and the firm was taken over this year by Tony Fernandes, who runs the racing outfit Team Lotus, which almost brings the Caterham/Lotus story full circle. Lotus Cars remains separate.

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