Jannarelly added: “It’s like if you have a soft sheet and you drape it over the chassis.” He highlighted the very visible architectural elements of the Seven as a key factor in its enduring appeal, saying: “With the Seven, it is form follows function. In some forms, I tried to apply almost the same rules, but this time the function is to cover the chassis.”
Notably, work on an electric version of the Seven is well under way, in partnership with Swindon Powertrain, and a working prototype with 322bhp and weighing just 700kg will take to the hill at Goodwood as a showcase of Caterham’s commitment to agility and straight-line pace. This is an entirely different project from the coupé, and a new ‘Caterham EVo’ business unit has been set up to deal with all matters relating to the Project V.
Q&A: Bob Laishley, CEO, Caterham
Can Project V make money?
“The business case says that it makes money. We need bigger numbers than we’ve sold Sevens for, but we have a business case. It’s a profitable business case around the numbers that we’ve got on the table – significantly more than Caterham has ever spent before, but significantly less than a big OEM has spent.”
Why do you need to appeal to new customers?
“We make 500 cars and sell 600 – and that sustains our current business. To get a return on the investment we need to make for this, we need to sell more. The volumes we’re talking about here are starting at 2000 a year and growing over a period of time. “Where that growth ends up, I don’t know. If we start saying ridiculous numbers, we run the risk of people saying it’s not credible.”
How will Project V be positioned?
“I get asked this question all the time and I get a bit frustrated with the obsession of constantly having to compare pricing and products to something else. I think buying one of these cars, whatever it might be in this sports car segment, is an emotional purchase. It’s not an objective purchase – ‘I can fit three suitcases in the boot of this one or two and a half in the boot of this one’ or ‘I can save £50 on a PCP for this car versus that car’. It’s not that clear-cut comparison.”