It is three years since I first visited Westfield’s Kingswinford factory; a trip that made such an impression that it would ultimately lead to me working there. Yet just over 12 months later, my faith was lost and exit swift.
The long-running saga between Group Lotus and Tony Fernandes’ 1Malaysia Racing Team has been brought to an amicable conclusion. In a joint-statement released earlier this morning, Proton, Group Lotus, 1Malaysia Racing Team and its owner Tony Fernandes announced that the legal dispute in the English Courts relating to the “LOTUS” and “TEAM LOTUS” brands had now ended with the parties agreeing settlement terms earlier this month.
With Malaysian-born Tony Fernandes as its new owner, it was only a matter of time before Caterham Cars set up a permanent residence in India – you see, despite being born in Kuala Lumpur, the Air Asia and Team Lotus boss’ late father was Indian.
The Ginetta G40 R is not your average sports car, and, I think it fair to say, carries more than the weight of a hopeful profit margin on its shoulders. Indeed, the future of Ginetta as a road car manufacturer may indeed hinge on the success of both the G40 and the G60 as road cars, both soon to be released and as seen here, and in near production ready form.
Following our recent interview with Caterham’s CEO, Ansar Ali – Behind the scenes at Caterham Cars – the company has now confirmed details of its programme to develop the next iconic Caterham model.
I have been sitting on some news about Caterham during the past few weeks, as we waited on some of the moves to play out. And it’s been fascinating to watch this minnow of the car industry become such a talking point on the global stage.
It was whilst watching Dragon’s Den on BBC TV the other evening that I started to wonder about the physical input (time, management, direction) given to those who successfully pitched their ideas. The financial element is, of course, clearly stated but as most of us know, any venture that is struggling to capitalise on its potential needs more than just hard cash and “association”. This was absolutely the case with the fancy dress business which was eventually taken-on by Duncan Bannatyne.
Just over an hour ago the High-Court case between Team Lotus and Group Lotus reached its conclusion and as we expected Mr Justice Peter Smith made his verdict in favour of Tony Fernandes’ 1Malaysia Racing Team, who were judged to be the true owner of the ‘Team Lotus’ name and its iconic roundel.
The golden heads of rapeseed flowers wallowed loftily next to a lush green Duxford meadow last Wednesday. A more fitting backdrop to the stunning livery of the new Team Lotus Caterham could surely never be found.
If you’ve been following this morning’s announcement of the acquisition of Caterham Cars by Team Lotus Enterprise (TLE), then you’ll already have spotted this tasty looking Caterham Seven – decked out in the Team Lotus Formula One squad’s colours – posing for photos with the official 2011 Team Lotus F1 cars.
Well it was perhaps the worst kept secret of the week, and yet the buzz and anticipation at this morning’s press conference was palpable as the gathering of journalists awaited the Headmaster (Tony Fernandes). We’ll bring you a separate report from Steve Hindle, who attended the conference plus some insights from his interview with Andy Noble, Sales and Marketing Director for Caterham Cars.
It’s been no secret that Corven, the private equity group who funded the buy-out of Caterham from the Nearn family, have long been seeking to retrench their investment. Despite a barrage of gilded PR, the introduction of new models, and ventures with household names ranging from Top Gear to Marks & Spencer, life since 2005 has not been easy for the Dartford outfit.