Artega’s new model future and interview

Published: 08 September 2008

Artega has just launched the brilliant GT, but CAR Online has grilled the top brass to bring you the inside line on the next generation of sports cars from the fledgling German manufacturer. Artega is planning a second model, smaller engines and more besides.

Click here for our first drive of the GT – a cut-price rival to the Porsche Cayman – but today we can spill the beans on the cars that will follow it. Once production of the GT is up and running, Artega will introduce a more economical four-cylinder version and after that will turn its attention to other standalone models.

Read on for our full interview with Karlheinz Kalbfell, the chief advisor to Artega since 2006. Sound familiar? That’s because he was previously a BMW bigwig, launching Mini and Rolls-Royce, before quitting to head up Alfa Romeo and Maserati.

What is Artega exactly?

‘There are many things Artega is not,’ says Kalbfell. ‘We’re not a cottage car manufacturer, we are not in the bespoke business, we are not a coachbuilder and we are going to stay well clear of the supercar segment.

‘Artega is not a short-lived experiment – the company is here to stay. Artega’s mission is to occupy the niche which separates the high-volume from the tiny-volume sports car makers. The firm’s means to this end is the GT, a sophisticated yet affordable mid-engined two-seater coupé aimed at performance- and handling-oriented enthusiasts. It’s “inspiration in motion” in the purest sense of the motto.’

Click ‘Next’ to read the rest of our interview with Artega

For our full drive of the new Artega GT, buy the latest October 2008 issue of CAR Magazine. Click here for a digital preview

What about personalisation of Artega products and future models?

‘We need to the get the basics right before we can think about customising the car,’ says Kalbfell. ‘That’s why there are no plans yet for a perfectly feasible King of the Ring version.

‘Instead of moving upmarket, the next iteration of the Artega theme would rather concentrate on a lighter and more economical four-cylinder engine. By 2010, we would also like to see the soft-top version enter production. At this point, the capacity is restricted to 500 units per year in single-shift operation, but it is logistically quite easy to double this number since we own enough land to build an extension next to the mother plant.’

What options can Artega customers spec?

For now, the options are limited to six exterior and four interior colours, plus optional Sport Cup tyres which are even wider and allegedly both grippier, as well as less forgiving.

Just about the only available factory options are lightweight rims, metallic paint and partial or full leather trim.

What about sales in North America?

‘Mid-term, US sales are a must,’ admits Kalbfell. ‘But since we need to prepare ourselves well for this important move, late 2010 looks like the earliest possible date. As it happens, that’s when the second bodystyle should get the nod. After all, roadsters have traditionally always done very well in the US...’

Click ‘Next’ to read the rest of our interview with Artega

For our full drive of the new Artega GT, buy the latest October 2008 issue of CAR Magazine. Click here for a digital preview

So when can I buy an Artega GT?

The Artega factory will officially open in September 2008 when the first dealer demonstrators are to roll off the line. By the end of the year, the batch of limited-edition ‘Intro 2008’ models will be completed, plus perhaps 50 built-to-order customer cars.

Over the next three years, the output is going to be increased step-by-step to 500 units. After establishing itself in Germany (six dealers), the brand will soon start exporting to Italy, France, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

And right-hand drive Artegas?

In mid-2009, the first right-hooker specimens are scheduled to be completed. This will enable Artega to tap the UK (HR Owen), Australia and Japan.

Spain, Portugal and the Benelux countries are also expected to join the fray.

For our full drive of the new Artega GT, buy the latest October 2008 issue of CAR Magazine. Click here for a digital preview

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