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Caterham prices slashed

Lotus flower: The Ford-powered Lotus-based Caterham Seven Roadsport SV 120.

British sportscar brand Caterham looks for elusive sales in Australia

17 Jan 2011

NICHE British sportscar brand Caterham may not have troubled the scorers in Australia in recent years, but the local importer looks to be hoping for a change of fortune through a massive reduction in prices for 2011.

Caterham Cars Australia has slashed its prices by between $7175 and $10,420, dropping the entry-level price to $60,000 driveaway – a reduction of 16.1 per cent.

The company said this was the lowest price for a Caterham Seven since 1997, when the brand recorded six retail sales, according to VFACTS sales figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

After a long absence from the Australian market, Caterham returned in 2006 with full factory-built ADR-compliant cars (rather than kit cars) but sold just three examples here in 2007-2008. Not a single Caterham was sold here in the past two years.

Importer Chris van Wyk, who owns one of the three cars and is also the Australian agent for the Morgan brand (four sales in 2010), said the Caterham agency had been a labour of love, and he hoped there was a latent ‘clubman’ car market that would be stimulated by the lower prices.

“Australia has been brought up on big V8s, but I think there are still a few hardcore enthusiasts out there, so maybe the new entry-level price will be the magic number to get sales going,” he told us.

Caterham Cars Australia said the lower pricing regime is the result of the current strength of the Australian dollar against the British pound, although the biggest reduction is for the lowest-priced car in the range, the Roadsport SV 120.

66 center imageFrom top: Caterham Seven Superlight SV R300, Caterham-Lola SP/300.R and the 'Seven' logo spelled out by enthusiasts' cars in the UK.

The Roadsport SV 120 is now listed at $54,480 (down from $64,900), or $59,990 ‘drive-away’ from the company’s West Melbourne showroom. Interstate orders are price-quoted individually.

Moving up the range, the Roadsport SV 175 is listed at $73,510 (down 11.4 per cent or $9440), the Superlight SV R300 track model at $85,355 (down 7.8 per cent or $7175) and the flagship CSR 175 at $85,435 (down 10.6 per cent or $10,095).

All the Caterham models are developed from the 1957 Lotus Seven, the rights to which were transferred to Caterham in 1973.

The top three models are now fitted with Euro 5-compliant modified Ford 2.0-litre engines developing 129kW, while the entry-level model has a 1.6-litre Ford engine.

Meanwhile, there is little prospect of Australia getting the new Caterham-Lola SP/300.R sports racing car that was unveiled last week in the UK, despite head office saying it could also be turned into a road-going model.

Caterham is building the sports prototype in conjunction with legendary racing car builder Lola Cars with the aim of launching a one-make race series for the cars in 2012.

Looking very much like a Le Mans racer, the aluminium-chassis Caterham-Lola is powered by a supercharged 225kW version of the Caterham-Ford engine and is said to accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 2.5 seconds.

It is priced in the UK at 60,000 pounds ($A96,300) and production has been set at 25 units a year.

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