Price cut gives sports car a shot at success
ENGL I S H sports car manufa c t u r e r Cat e r - ham 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,’’ says Caterham Cars Australia spokesman Chris van Wyk.
He says they had two problems. ‘‘ The price is too high and most Clubman buyers want a kit car, something that we do not offer,’’ he says. ‘‘In my experience with this mar- ket, 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. 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 focused and basic.’’
Yet he is confident of at least a 100 per cent sales increase this year with the base model two-litre costing $82,950 which is $26,050 less than outgoing $107,700 SVR 200.
Mr van Wyk says 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 Sevens on offer.
The Roadsport SV 175, Superlight SV R300 and CSR 175 are all powered by a twolitre 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.
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 under seven litres per 100km,’’ Mr van Wyk says.
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 shortthrow manual five-speed 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.
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.
At the budget end is the Seven Roadsport SV 120 with its 1.6 litre Ford Sigma engine, five-speed manual gearbox, De Dior rear suspension and 14in wheels. It still comes with full weather protection, electrically heated windscreen and cloth trim.
Caterham Seven sports cars are based on the 1957 Colin Chapman-designed Lotus 7.
Caterham Australia also orders in complete or kit form racing cars, with prices dependent on customer specifications.