UK: Chinese step in to secure London cab future
The future of Manganese Bronze, the company that makes the iconic London Taxi Cab has been secured with the announcement that it has been acquired by major shareholder Geely, the Chinese carmaker.
Geely owned a 20% stake in the firm before it collapsed into administration last October, following a recall of 500 cabs due to a steering box fault, which came on top of mounting losses at the group.
The deal, brokered by PwC, involves the acquisition of the principal assets and trade of Coventry based London Taxi Company by Geely UK Limited, a newly-created subsidiary of the Geely parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
It includes the company head office and production and assembly plant in Coventry, the Mann & Overton dealership in London and all related dealership assets including those in Manchester and Edinburgh.
Most importantly the London Taxi Company's stock of new and unregistered, vehicles together with the entire fleet of used and demonstrator vehicles, are also part of the deal with Geely UK.
Manganese and Geely signed a joint venture agreement in 2006 and own a factory in Shanghai that produces the taxis [mainly in LHD] for international markets. The company was already in some financial difficulty before the latest problem emerged.
Sales have been in decline - the Coventry-based firm sold 1,502 taxis in the UK last year, compared with 1,653 in 2010, a fall of 9.1%.