Caterham Cars new HQ in DartfordCaterham Cars new HQ in Dartford


UK home remains ‘crucial’ to Caterham as new site opens, says boss

  • Caterham MD says new facility gives it ‘more volume’ than before
  • Extra production capacity allows it to fulfil significant number of orders
  • UK company was never tempted to move production abroad, says Bob Laishley

Time 7:16 am, June 18, 2024

Caterham’s home remains firmly in the UK – with the firm’s boss stating that the company wasn’t tempted to move production abroad, despite being owned by Japan-based VT Holdings.

Managing director Bob Laishley spoke exclusively to Car Dealer as Caterham opened the doors to its new facility in Dartford.

Being just down the road from Caterham’s previous production site brought its advantages, said Laishley, adding that the transition went ‘relatively smoothly’.

New Caterham Cars HQ

New 54,000 sq ft site means Caterham can fulfil more orders

‘We’ve moved out of the premises we’ve been in for 36 years and, you know, moving house after that period of time is never going to be easy.

‘We’re back up and running, producing the same or more volume than we were before, which was the aim of this place.

‘And we expected some sort of ramp-up. But it’s happened and we’re all in and enjoying our new environment.’

Laishley stated that although Caterham is owned by Japanese importer VT Holdings – which took ownership of the firm in 2021 – there was no temptation to move production overseas.

‘It says “Made in Great Britain” on the front of the car, so I think there’s no doubt that it had to be made here.

‘The artisan nature of manufacturing each car – built by an individual from beginning to end – means that if we’re going to move abroad and retrain everybody, we wouldn’t be in business in six months. It takes six months to train a new member of staff.’

He added that having the extra production capacity of the 54,000 sq ft facility allowed Caterham to fulfil a significant number of new orders.

‘The problem with a long waiting list is that we were getting to an issue where new customers were having to wait 14 months for a car, so having the additional capacity allows us to fulfil this.

‘It gives an opportunity for expansion, that’s for sure. A lot of dealers in a lot of markets have complained that we can’t produce enough cars for them.

‘And in the three years I’ve been with the business, we regularly get approached by potential new dealers in existing territories or new dealers in completely new territories.

‘In the past, we’ve had to say “Thank you very much for your interest in our brand, but we’re already over-subscribed in terms of what we can build”. That’s the key difference [now],’ Laishley added.

Jack Evans's avatar

Jack Evans is the head of editorial for Car Dealer parent company Blackball Media. An experienced motoring journalist, he covers the latest car launches, motoring news and produces a variety of features for this website.

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