December 11 2013 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Automotive group Caterham has entered the growth fast lane after unveiling a two-year plan to expand its Norfolk hub and create 130 new jobs.
The iconic car manufacturer is making an undisclosed multi-million pound investment to create a new production plant at its Hingham-based technology and innovation centre, which will play a key role in delivering the next generation of Caterham cars.
Although the Kent-based firm has remained tight-lipped on the project, it is believed new vehicles could be rolling off the production line by the end of next year.
The announcement comes the day after the company took to the stage at the Frankfurt Motor Show to reveal its new 80bhp entry-level Caterham Seven 160 – with production set for January next year.
Scott Thompson, business development manager for Caterham Technology, said: “We have gone through a period of growth and we are looking at the development of a number of products in the Caterham Group and that is part of the reason why we are looking to expand.
“We are a brand that is investing for the future, and this is just one of the first steps in a move to make that happen.”
Norwich architects Feilden+Mawson are to submit plans to South Norfolk Council for a 7,000sqm facility, which the company said will bring new positions in engineering and manufacturing.
According to the architects, the new complex has been designed with an angular, sloping façade of high-gloss cladding, which leans out towards visitors and links the existing building with the new two-storey production facility.
The original building, which was designed by Feilden+Mawson over 20 years ago, has been home to a variety of motorsport teams over the years – most recently Caterham’s own F1 team – and now houses the Caterham Group’s centre of excellence for technology and innovation.
Robert Todd, managing partner at Feilden+Mawson, said: “We have had extremely positive pre-planning discussions with South Norfolk and Hingham Town Council who have both been very supportive.
“We hope to commence work on site before Christmas with a target of new vehicles rolling off the production line by the end of 2014.
“It’s going to be a very prestigious building which the company and town can be very proud of. It will give Caterham a high-profile presence in mid Norfolk.”
He added: “It safeguards Caterham’s position in Hingham and will allow them to expand and meet the aspirations of their long-term business plan.”
Caterham Technology and Innovation provides specialist engineering services in the motorsport, marine and aerospace industries.
Business secretary Vince Cable has been issued an ultimatum by two Norfolk MPs to back Caterham Cars proposed move to Norfolk – or risk losing the iconic brand to France.