London black cab maker LTC restarts production

LONDON (REUTERS) - The London Taxi Company (LTC) on Wednesday restarted production of the famous black cab, six months after the business was saved by Chinese car maker Geely.

Former owner Manganese Bronze, whose black taxis have been on British streets since 1948, went into administration last October, with about a third of its 300-strong workforce losing their jobs. Geely bought Manganese Bronze for 11 million pounds (S$22 million) in February, safeguarding further jobs and production of the vehicles in Britain.

Geely, which plans to invest 150 million pounds in LTC over the next five years, said it had significantly improved LTC's manufacturing facilities in Coventry, central England, allowing the firm to start making new TX4 models on its production line.

Once it is fully up and running, the production line will complete up to 10 new taxis a day, five days a week.

Geely, which has created 66 new jobs at the plant, said the first month's predicted production had already sold out with the company expecting to sell almost 2,000 vehicles in the first year.

Around half of these will be for the overseas market after LTC won export contracts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

LTC said it was also looking at a number of potential new production sites in Britain, both in the Coventry area and elsewhere.