London Taxi Cabs Set For Chinese Production

By 2008, 20,000 cabs will roll off the line in Shanghai.

The world-famous black London taxi cab will soon be seen on the streets of China after its maker announced a multi-million-pound deal Oct. 4 to build 20,000 vehicles per year in Shanghai. Specialist carmaker Manganese Bronze said it had agreed a 53-million-pound ($99.7 million) joint-venture deal with Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holdings to produce the black cab in eastern China.

The deal has no implications for the future of the 350 people at its factory in Coventry, west central England, a company spokesman added.

The company said it hopes the first taxis will roll off the Shanghai production line in mid-2008 with taxi firms, hotels and private limousine companies in China the likely market.

The high cost of the taxis and of exporting them has so far hindered any form of serious growth overseas for the company. The deal will also mean it can buy cheap components from China for production in Britain. "The cost of producing the London taxi is expected to be significantly lower due to higher volumes and purchase of components from Geely's current low-cost suppliers," Manganese said.

Manganese is set to invest 19.85 million pounds in return for a 37.6% stake in the joint venture. Geely will in return take a 23% stake in Manganese.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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