British motorsports brand Caterham Cars is entering India with the Burmans, promoters of FMCG company Dabur, at the helm of the operations in India.
The company will start selling its Caterham Seven, built- to-order models priced ranging from Rs 28 lakh up to Rs 90 lakh by the first half of next year.
It also plans to bring its latest sports car Caterham SP300, which is priced at 66,000 pounds, to India by next year.
“We think we are entering India at the right time when the country is set to host its first Formula One race. Caterham being motorsports oriented, we think we can provide an affordable option to motorsports enthusiasts here,” said Caterham Cars Managing Director Ansar Ali.
The Indian operations of Caterham Cars will be handled by an independent company -- Caterham Cars India, which is owned by Burman family scions, Mohit Burman and Gaurav Burman, in partnership with a UK citizen, Matt Cummings.
Caterham Cars India will set up an assembly unit at Greater Noida for the Indian customers and also plans to bring the renowned Caterham Academy in India soon.
“An initial investment of $ 5-10 million has been earmarked. This will cover setting up of an assembly plant and also carrying out different brand awareness campaigns here,” Caterham Cars India (CCI) CEO Matt Cummings said.
India will be the second location after the US, where Caterham cars will be assembled outside of the UK, he said, adding it made sense to do it here to make the car as affordable as it can be for customers. Initially, the company will focus on brand building and organise experience drives with potential customers on race tracks in different parts of India.
“Unlike other car companies, that set up dealerships, we will focus more on direct customer experiences like track drives and carry forward from there. For that we see the Buddh International Circuit (India’s F1 track) as an ideal place,” Cummings said, adding that other places like Chennai are also on the company’s radar.
He also said the company will bring the Caterham academy, which has proved to be highly successful in Europe, in India as part of brand awareness campaign. The academy allows motorsport enthusiasts to take part in programmes conducted by the company to ultimately become a racing driver.
Caterham Cars, which is 100 per cent owned by Tony Fernandes, the promoter of Lotus F1 team and airlines Air Asia has set a target of selling around 10,000 cars per annum in the next five to seven years globally, up from the current 500 units a year. “We are hoping that India contributes as much as it can in future,” Ali said, adding at present France and Japan are the biggest markets for the company outside of the UK.