Renault and Caterham Car, the UK sports car manufacturer owned by Malaysian businessman Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, have agreed to form a joint venture to develop and produce sports vehicles and city cars in Malaysia as well as France.

The 50:50 joint venture will be called Societe des Automobiles Alpine Caterham, involving Renault’s specialist Automobiles Alpine Renault unit. The new company will produce cars both in Dieppe, France and at Naza Motors in Malaysia. 

Investment in both countries is expected to begin in 2013, with the first cars scheduled to be produced in 2015. The aim is to produce affordable sports cars, sports-utility vehicles and city cars for sale in Asia and Europe. 

The cars will be produced under both Caterham and Alpine brands with distinctive identities and styling. The Malaysian versions will be imported as CKD kits with many parts sourced locally.

Tony Fernandes, owner of low-cost airline AirAsia and the Tune Hotels network, acquired Caterham Cars in April 2011. The Caterham Group also encompasses the Caterham Formula 1 racing team, previously known as Team Lotus.

See also: FRANCE: Renault/Caterham JV to produce Alpine within four years