Santander Corporate & Commercial has provided £1.15m funding for Caterham Cars, the Dartford-based light sports car manufacturer.

The funding line will allow Caterham to expand in international markets as well as developing its UK manufacturing base.

Santander Corporate & Commercial has also become Caterham Car’s day-to-day banking partner, with the initial funding viewed as potentially the start of a long-term partnership to support the firm’s wider growth aspirations.

The firm is already established in, and exports to, a large number of markets such as France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and the US and is investing for growth in these established markets but wants to target markets such as Taiwan and Columbia, said a release.

Originally established in Caterham, Surrey, in 1959 by Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman, the business has been located in Dartford since 1986, supported by a showroom in Crawley. It now has franchised dealerships in the UK and across Europe, with a growing order book and manufacturing slots booked out into 2019 – fuelled by demand, in part, from overseas dealers and customers.

Helping UK businesses to export is a key specialism of the bank, and Santander will look to support the manufacturer through dedicated products and contacts as it expands in high-value markets such as the US.

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Trevor Steel, chief financial officer, Caterham Cars, said: “The business continues to grow, both in the UK and overseas, and we are focused on capitalising on this strong demand. We have a loyal customer base that recognise and value the cars for their engineering excellence, classic design and driving experience. The new partnership with Santander heralds an exciting new era in the history of Caterham Cars.”

Jeff Clark, international and working capital director, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this quintessential UK manufacturer as it invests for growth. It is clear the management team has very exciting plans for the business, and we are honoured to be able to help them expand internationally.”