The maker of London's black cabs, which was rescued from administration by the Chinese car company Geely, is to double its workforce as it aims to restart production of the taxis in a matter of months.
Having bought Manganese Bronze, the owner of the London Taxi Company, out of administration earlier this month, Geely is to add about 100 jobs over the next year, almost all at the Coventry plant where the distinctive taxi is made. The factory currently has 107 workers, after 156 lost their jobs following Manganese's fall into administration last October. "Geely is committed to retaining the facility in Coventry," said Peter Johansen, the former finance director of Manganese who is now executive vice president of the London Taxi Company. "The factory in Coventry will continue to manufacture taxis. That's the home of the taxis."
The company is also working towards restarting production of black cabs at the factory. The workers at the plant have been concentrating on repairing vehicles in the wake of a fault with steering boxes that resulted in 400 of its TX4 taxis being recalled last year, prompting Manganese's fall into administration.
Mr Johansen said that with this complete, "it will be probably June before we actually start producing a brand new vehicle off the assembly line".
Geely, which also owns Volvo Cars, has restarted selling cabs in the UK . The business has also received orders for 200 from both Australia and Saudi Arabia, in deals believed to be worth up to £15m in total.
With Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, recently proposing that only zero and low-emission vehicles should be allowed in the centre of the capital by 2020, the London Taxi Company plans to develop a hybrid taxi and, in the long term, one powered by hydrogen.