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Geely to buy bankrupt London Taxis

31/12/2012

image Back in October we reported that Manganese Bronze – makers of the iconic London Taxi – had gone in to administration, finally tipped over the edge by  steering box failures in the TX4.

After years of under-investment – and a product that has been usurped by both the Mercedes Vito Taxi and the new Nissan NV200 Taxi – it looked like Manganese Bronze had no way back. Even 20 per cent owners Geely – who had been building the TX4 in China to ship to the UK to be bolted together in an effort to cut costs – weren’t willing to stump up any cash to keep the Black Cab alive.

But now the Chinese motoring press are reporting that Geely are planning to buy up the 80 per cent of Manganese Bronze they don’t own from the administrators  Which, on the face of it, looks an odd decision taken the woeful – if iconic – state of the London Black Cab business.

But the reality is probably that Geely are less interested in keeping the Black Cab alive than using Manganese Bronze as a stepping stone in to the UK market.

Last year we reported that Geely were planning to enter the UK car market with their Emgrand range of cars, using Manganese Bronze to establish a dealer network and provide after-sales. Geely and MB were aiming for between 30 and 40 dealerships to handle sales of the Emgrand 7, and were pitching former Rover dealers with the plan.

That plan was obviously stymied by the problems at Manganese Bronze, so perhaps Geely think it simpler to buy up MB and continue with their plans to build a franchise network for Geely that way than start again from scratch?

Sadly, we can’t see this development making much difference to the future of the London Taxi.

Read more: http://www.carsuk.net/geely-to-buy-bankrupt-london-taxis/#ixzz2Gd9pMYzZ

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