Boris hails Chinese rescue of black cabs firm Manganese

 

One of China’s biggest private car manufacturers today snapped up the British maker of London’s iconic black cabs for £11 million.

Mayor Boris Johnson said he was “delighted” that China’s Geely had bought taxi business Manganese Bronze out of administration, “ensuring the continuing manufacture of a world famous, fully accessible and instantly recognisable vehicle synonymous with London.”

Johnson added: “London’s cabbies can now look to the future safe in the knowledge that the TX model taxi will continue to serve Londoners for many years to come.”

Geely already owned a 20% stake in Manganese Bronze, after a joint venture set up in 2006 that saw the UK business buy China-made components and body parts.

But today’s deal sees the Chinese firm ramp up its expansion into Europe’s auto industry; it bought Volvo Cars in Sweden from Ford for $1.8 billion (£1.1 billion) in 2010.

Geely’s financial director, Daniel Li, is to become its new UK chairman. He promised to keep Manganese’s Coventry manufacturing plant open, even though since the company fell into administration in October, 156 staff have lost their jobs.

Speaking at the factory in Coventry today, Li said: “The deal will secure the long-term future of the company and maintain the production, skilled jobs and plant in Coventry. Today we have 107 people working here, and we are confident we will create some new jobs with the recovery of the business.”

One of his first hires was to appoint Peter Johansen, former finance director of Manganese Bronze, as executive vice president of Geely UK’s black cab operations. But Li said it was “too early to say” if any of the 156 staff who lost their jobs would return, adding: “it depends on their skills and the needs of the company. In time we will examine the potential to create new, lower-carbon vehicles which could be exported around the world. But that’s a discussion for a later day.” The Chinese group added it will be looking at new models to follow the current TX4 as well as “examining the potential for entering the private-hire market”.

However, Li warned it would “take some weeks to restart production”.

Manganese Bronze called in administrators PriceWaterhouseCoopers after supply problems with steering boxes made in China, by a firm introduced to Manganese by Geely, led to a recall of 400 of its flagship £35,000 TX4 taxis.

That was on top of reporting four years of financial losses and struggling under increasing warranty costs. Even the worldwide PR opportunity of having the Spice Girls dancing on top of five black cabs at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games this summer couldn’t turn around Manganese’s fortunes, especially when the company revealed a £3.9 million black hole in its accounts days after the Games that forced it to delay its half-year results.

Manganese hadn’t posted a profit since 2007, struggling in the face of competition from listed Eco City Vehicles, which distributes Mercedes taxis. Manganese had a monopoly on supply to the taxi market until 2008 but now Mercedes-Benz has 40% of the sales.

About 1400 new black cabs are registered each year, with London having almost 23,000 licensed taxis on the road.

Li said all taxis affected by the steering box problems had been fixed and were back on the road.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

KYC Analyst, Birmingham - £200-£250 p/d

£200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone