LUX­URY PRICE CUT

NT News - Motoring - - NEWS - By MARK HINCH­LIFFE

ENGLISH sports car man­u­fac­turer Cater­ham is hop­ing a $26,000 price drop will at­tract cus­tomers — any cus­tomers.

Not one Cater­ham was sold last year and only one in 2008.

‘‘Yep, last year was the first year I had no de­liv­er­ies at all, so I am not a rich man,’’ Cater­ham Cars Aus­tralia spokesman Chris van Wyk said. He said it had two prob­lems. ‘‘The price is too high and most Club­man buy­ers want a kit car, some­thing that we do not of­fer,’’ he said.

‘‘In my ex­pe­ri­ence with this mar­ket, most buy­ers want to build a $40,000 kit car, or they may pay up to around $60,000 for a built-up car. ‘‘Very few have the abil­ity to pay more. ‘‘So even now, we are re­ally still too ex­pen­sive for the mar­ket, but as the Cater­ham uses qual­ity com­po­nents, we can­not com­pete with other club­man cars di­rectly on price.

‘‘Some of th­ese com­peti­tors used some sec­ond­hand or re­con­di­tioned com­po­nents in the past, which we do not do. ‘‘We have Bil­stein shocks, Eibach springs

CATER­HAM MOD­ELS

Seven CSR 175, 2.0 Cater­ham-Ford for ex­am­ple. This means we are re­ally looking at buy­ers who can af­ford a BMW Z4 or a Porsche Boxster, but for most of those our car is too fo­cussed and ba­sic.

‘‘The cost of ADR ho­molo­ga­tion is also hor­ren­dous and this hits the smaller man­u­fac­tur­ers dis­pro­por­tion­ately hard, as we have to amor­tise those costs over a small vol­ume of cars.

‘‘So, whichever way you cut it, we will al­ways have a very small cus­tomer base.’’

Yet he is con­fi­dent of sell­ing some cars this year with the base model two-litre model cost­ing $82,950 which is $26,050 less than out­go­ing $107,700 SVR 200.

Van Wyk said the price drop was due to ‘‘the more favourable cur­rency ex­change rate, the re­duced duty and a re­vised, less ex­pen­sive en­gine’’.

And rather than just of­fer­ing one model, Cater­ham now has its largest range of

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Seven Road­sport SV 120, 1.6 Ford Sigma

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Seven Su­perlight SV R300, 2.0 Cater­ham-Ford

Seven Road­sport SV 175, 2.0 Cater­ham-Ford

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. . $95,530

. . $92,530

. . $82,950

. . $64,900 Sev­ens on of­fer.

The Road­sport SV 175, Su­perlight SV R300 and CSR 175 are all pow­ered by a two-litre en­gine de­vel­oped with Ford in the UK.

The new Euro 4 four-cylin­der en­gine pro­duces 129kW of power and re­places the pre­vi­ous ‘‘very nice, but also very ex­pen­sive’’ hand-built Cos­worth 2.3-litre with 147kW.

‘‘The en­gine is a jewel, hand­made in the F1 en­gine fac­tory, but it is about $50 000 just for the en­gine,’’ van Wyk said.

There is also the base model $64,900 Seven Road­sport SV 120, which re­places the SVR 120 and is pow­ered by a 1.6 Ford Sigma.

‘‘Our Road­sport SV 120 model also dodges the dreaded lux­ury car tax, be­cause it posts a fuel con­sump­tion fig­ure of un­der seven litres per 100km,’’ van Wyk said. ‘‘So if some­one is looking for a fun sports car for the road, we now have much more af­ford­able mod­els from which to choose.’’

The Seven Road­sport SV 175, which is based on the out­go­ing SVR 200, is in­tended for road use and has weather pro­tec­tion, but no air­con­di­tion­ing.

It fea­tures a short-throw man­ual fivespeed gear­box, unas­sisted di­rect steer­ing, unas­sisted brakes and own­ers will still be able to see the front sus­pen­sion and steer­ing at work from the driver’s seat.

There is also a spec­i­fi­ca­tion de­crease on the Road­sport SV 175 against the SVR 200.

It now comes with 14-inch wheels and a five-speed gear­box rather than 15-inch wheels and be­spoke Avon CR500 tyres, with the six-speed Cater­ham de­signed gear­box, which is now a $6795 op­tion.

Top of the Cater­ham Seven range is the $95,530 CSR 175 with in­board front sus­pen­sion, in­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion and ad­justable dampers and front anti-roll bar.

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