British sports car maker Caterham plans to launch a city car and an SUV in an expansion of its partnership with Renault’s upcoming performance division Alpine.
Caterham chairman Tony Fernandes told Automotive News the Renault-based models, which may be derived from the new-generation Clio and Captur models, could launch shortly after the first sports cars from the Alpine Caterham joint venture reach showrooms in 2016.
Fernandes said he was hoping to mimic the success of the Range Rover Evoque with the new Caterham SUV, which along with the sub-compact model will be targeted specifically at the Asian market.
“Sports cars will do well but the city car and SUV are what the [Asian] market really wants,” he said. “If we get the SUV right it will be huge.”
Fernandes said the vehicles would be partially assembled by Renault before being shipped to Asia for final assembly.
He admitted the initial take-up may be slow given Caterham was essentially “unheard of in Asia”, but said brand awareness would improve as the company’s Renault-powered racers moved up the Formula One grid.
Fernandes purchased Caterham in 2011 and controls the brand’s F1 team.
He said Alpine may also follow suit with its own city car and SUV, though a Renault spokeswoman told Automotive News there was “currently no plan to extend it to Alpine”.