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Taxi cab-maker Allied Vehicles in line for growth

12/08/2013

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Mark Williamson

Group Business Correspondent

ALLIED Vehicles, the Glasgow-based maker of taxis and wheelchair-accessible cars, expects to achieve another year of strong growth following a successful first three months at its new

Click here to read on the the Herald website

With total sales of products ranging from scooters to walking sticks at the Mobility Solutions store opened in May running four times higher than budgeted, Allied Vehicles has already started planning to open another outlet.

"It’s been absolutely amazing," said Gerry Facenna, who owns Allied Vehicles with his brother Michael.

The buoyant trading at the 750,000 square foot Glasgow store has affirmed directors’ confidence in the chances of a retailer specialising in mobility products bucking the trend for people to focus their spending online.

Allied Vehicles believed people would welcome a one-stop shop that offered them a chance to try out products and provided related services like repairs.

Mr Facenna, who is campaigning for a £1 million scheme to use taxis as ambulances in a bid to boost  survival rates among heart-attack victims, said directors had expected to wait six months before deciding whether to roll the formula out.

But he added: "That decision has already been made."

The motor trade veteran said all areas of the Allied Vehicles business have been performing well.

The company has recruited 90 people since January to keep pace with demand for its products and services.

It employs 420 people in areas ranging from vehicle production to repairs.

Allied Vehicles increased turnover to £74m in the year to April, from £69m in the preceding period.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased to £2.5m from £2.2m.

Mr Facenna said sales of taxis have been increasing in recent months.

He believes some cab drivers who deferred buying vehicles during the recession have returned to the market.

The problems experienced by the maker of the famed TX4 black cab, Manganese Bronze, helped Allied Vehicles. Manganese Bronze fell into administration last October.

It was acquired by Geely of China in February.

Mr Facenna said that Allied is looking at the possibility of mounting a legal challenge to the refusal of London authorities to licence its cabs for use in that city.

The London Public Carriage Office requires taxis to turn in a 25-foot circle. "We’re the biggest British owned car manufacturer in the UK now and we can’t get our taxis into the capital for some stupid rule," said Mr Facenna.

He noted that the company has 120 of its wheelchair-accessible vehicles on rental across the UK, compared with 70 at the start of the year.

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