The London Taxi Company today restarted production of the famous black cab, six months after the business was rescued by Geely Group of China.
Following a significant improvements to LTC’s manufacturing facilities in Coventry and the creation of around 65 new jobs, the company has once again commenced the building of new TX4 models on its production line. Geely Group Chairman Li Shufu and Business Secretary Vince Cable were present to officially start production.
Chairman Li said: “Today is a milestone in the history of the London Taxi Company, but it marks just the beginning of what we believe will be a strong and prosperous future. We are pleased to have created dozens of new jobs, and have already begun work on the planning and design of the next generation of this iconic vehicle. Thanks to the work of everyone here and everyone that has supported us, LTC has an exciting future ahead of it.”
Mr Cable said: "After a period of worry and uncertainty for the workforce, Geely Group's investment has secured the future of the iconic black cabs company, protecting highly skilled jobs in the Midlands and ensuring that London cabs continue to be made here in Britain. It is also a clear demonstration of the success of the British car industry which has gone from strength to strength even during tough economic times."
Since Geely Group acquired the company from the administrators in February 2013, the company has cleared the inventory of vehicles that remained following the closure of the production facilities in 2012.
Once fully up and running, the production line will complete around 10 new taxis a day, five days a week, and the vehicles will be the most sophisticated produced by LTC with additional quality improvements.
Following the investment by Geely Group, LTC has created an additional 65 engineering and technical jobs in Coventry and has also expanded its London operations with the recruitment of new sales people. This has increased the total workforce to just under 170.
The first month’s expected production has already sold out and the company expects to sell almost 2,000 vehicles in the first year following today’s restart of production. Around half of these will be for the overseas market after LTC won export contracts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
As part of a £150m five-year investment plan, Geely Group is continuing to examine the future needs of the London taxi market, with a view to developing new models to follow the current TX4, improving the energy efficiency and environmental footprint of the traditional London cab . LTC is also examining a number of potential new production sites in the UK, both in the Coventry area and elsewhere..