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Lotus Acquires Sports Car Maker Caterham

Caterham Cars moved into the glamorous world of Formula One when Team Lotus announced the acquisition of the British sports car manufacturer.

LONDON (AP) -- Caterham Cars moved into the glamorous world of Formula One on Wednesday when Team Lotus announced the acquisition of the great British sports car manufacturer.

Lotus purchased Caterham, which specializes in making small lightweight sports cars, for an undisclosed sum from venture capitalist group Corven, in a deal labeled "the perfect partnership" by the F1 team.

Caterham's most famous car is the Seven, which was designed by Colin Chapman -- the founder of the original Team Lotus. He sold the rights of the Seven to Caterham in 1973.

Lotus said the deal will allow Caterham to "expand its brand profile and product family."

"Caterham has a unique place at the heart of the motoring world," Lotus owner Tony Fernandes said. "As well as being proudly and staunchly British, it has an enviable and uniquely unblemished reputation within the industry for performance, handling and engineering excellence.

"It is already a successful business with sales across Europe, Japan, Australia and the Middle East ... we now have all the ingredients and the launch pad to further evolve that spirit and take Caterham to new exciting horizons."

Caterham's existing management team, headed up by managing director and former Lotus Cars executive Ansar Ali, will remain in place.

In the last five years, Ansar has created Caterham's first brand new model in 15 years, the SP/300.R sports prototype racer.

"While the Seven will now have the global springboard it deserves and will continue to be evolved yet further," Ali said, "we also have the opportunity to expand the Caterham family beyond the Seven and SP/300.R and breathe new life into our uniquely respected brand and mature it into a truly global business."

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