Caterham is developing a crossover SUV and a subcompact car with Renault, chairman Tan Sri Tony Fernandes has said, in an ambitious attempt to transform the small-volume British sports car maker into a global premium brand, according to Reuters.

The models are likely to surface not long after the first Caterham/Renault Alpine sports cars are launched in 2016, the AirAsia founder told the news agency. We’ve previously reported that the first product will be code-named CT02, and a locally-assembled version is likely for Malaysia.

“Sports cars will do well but the city car and SUV are what the (Asian) market really wants,” said Fernandes, adding that Caterham hopes to emulate the success of the Range Rover Evoque. “If we get the SUV right it will be huge.”

alpine concept rear

The new Caterham models would be Renault-based and shipped in semi-finished form for final assembly in Asia. The French carmaker has confirmed that it is studying the feasibility of these vehicles with Caterham, reports Reuters.

Fernandes bought Caterham in 2011 and controls the F1 team of the same name, powered by Renault engines. Last November, Renault and Caterham unveiled a joint sports car programme, along with an agreement to sell a 50% stake in Renault’s Dieppe plant to the Malaysian entrepreneur, creating the Caterham-Alpine venture.

The Caterham brand is “unheard of in Asia but it will become better known as we move up the F1 grid,” Fernandes said. “The new models will have Renault engines so it’s important to have a Renault engine in the F1 car.”