The niche manufacturer scores its best year of sales in its near-50-year history.
Caterham's history since it was founded in 1973 has been a phenomenal one considering that its business model has been to keep the classic Lotus Seven fire alive. Over the years, we have seen the historic chassis modernized with new components and powertrains in a bid to satisfy some of the purest driving enthusiasts across the world, but even the company that created it has moved on to bigger things like the Lotus Emira while Caterham has doggedly stuck with the simplest recipe.
2021 was a big year for the small British brand as it introduced its first-ever electric powertrain and the Caterham Seven 170, which is officially categorized as the lightest Seven ever made. By switching things up in its portfolio, the Japanese-owned company now confirms that it has experienced its most successful year of sales in its history.
The final sales figure of 670 cars for the entire year is very modest but it reflects a 41% increase over 2019. Before this, its sales record sat at 667 in 2015. Caterham says that it was pleased with its result considering that it too was hindered by complications that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that it didn't put together any limited edition models.
A big reason for its success last year was the aforementioned 170 but the Seven 420, launched in 2015, remained its strongest seller in the UK and USA. Its biggest market remained its home region with a share of 37.6% but it noted an increase in demand everywhere else. Its youngest dealership in Portugal managed to clear 22 units and the Italian region sales increased by 17 cars year-to-year.
The USA was one of its biggest markets having cleared 49 unit sales. This is more than double what it was able to achieve in 2019. Caterham says it has no intention of stopping its momentum in 2022 as its order books are filling up at a rapid pace. It also notes that this year's Caterham Academy season, consisting of 50 cars, was fully occupied a whole eight months before the season opener. 2023 looks to repeat this as 25 of the slots are already catered for.
Graham Macdonald, Caterham's Chief Executive Officer expresses great joy regarding Caterham's impressive achievements last year. He says, "While 2021 saw plenty of challenges across the automotive sector, I'm delighted to announce such positive sales figures for Caterham. The experiences of the last two years have led many people to re-evaluate what they want out of life, meaning Caterham's philosophy of driver-focused fun and thrillingly pure performance resonates even more clearly than before."