Black cabs of London get bailout from China
Now the troubled maker of a vehicle that is as British as the double-decker bus is getting a lifeline from a Chinese automaker whose last big acquisition was paying $1.3 billion for Volvo in 2010. The Chinese company, the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, said on Friday that it had agreed to pay $17 million for the assets of Manganese Bronze, whose London Taxi Company unit produces the taxis.
“I am delighted that Geely has successfully secured the future of the London Taxi Company, ensuring the continuing manufacture of a world famous, fully accessible and instantly recognizable vehicle synonymous with London,” Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, said in a statement.
After posting losses for more than five years, as well as higher costs and accounting errors, Manganese Bronze, which made ship propellers in the 19th century, entered into administration, the British equivalent of bankruptcy, in October. A recall of about 400 of its taxis had pushed the company over the edge. The recall came after it discovered faults with some steering boxes it had ordered from a new supplier in China.
Geely, which acquired a 20 percent stake in the company as part of a joint venture in 2007, said it planned to develop new taxi models, including one that is more environmentally friendly, and to sell more vehicles abroad.
Manganese Bronze produced the first London cab in 1948, but the vehicles trace their
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