Light work: ex-boss of Nissan sports cars on Caterham battle plan

“It is surprising that many of the problems encountered are no different from those of OEMs. It’s just the scale. The issues of having a product plan that maintains customer engagement and vehicle compliance – they’re all the same issues.

“Maybe the solutions in some areas are a little easier and could be a little more innovative in others, but it is remarkable that the challenges we face have very strong similarities.

“One of the positive aspects of moving to this new world is the agility to make decisions very quickly compared to the big, slow juggernaut of a global OEM. It is very refreshing.

What should Caterham remember?

“Caterham’s attributes have always been lightness, agility, fun to drive – and all of that should be kept. The previous owners tried to change the shape and format of the Seven or the brand and for various reasons that didn’t work, so there is something to be said about keeping some stability, and the priority is to maintain stability.

“There’s nothing bad about anything guys do. We must build on their strong performance over the past few years. The first challenge is to reduce the waiting time for customers. The lead time is long today due to the production capacity we have, so we are working on how to improve that lead time and increase the production rate to meet the orders we have now.

Did you enter with certain ambitions?

“Graham [Macdonald, CEO] has an ongoing discussion around the electric vehicle and we clearly need to consider moving more towards the electric vehicle. There are technological challenges around this. The guys were a lot more advanced with their EV plans than I thought from the outside, but this challenge for us is to deliver the same enjoyable experience but in an EV format.

“There are a lot of naysayers who are wondering whether or not to make an EV, but I’m really convinced that we need this offer, and it’s my priority to deliver this experience that’s fun to drive. and still a Seven. I don’t want to read that not everything we deliver in this space is built on the story of the Seven. We want to deliver that raw driving experience.


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