Geely has announced an £80 million investment into research and production of the new hybrid TX5 model, expected to create 500 new jobs at the Coventry plant, quadrupling the workforce.
After meeting company chairman Li Shifu in Shanghai, the Prime Minister said:
"Black cabs are synonymous with London. Getting one in Shanghai today highlights how the links between the UK and China can bring rewards for both - Chinese investment helping British businesses to succeed and grow."
The new Chinese owner of the iconic London taxi brand today announced plans to develop the first-ever electric black cab.But in a sign of the shifting fortunes of Manganese Bronze
Holdings , which was saved from bankruptcy by the Chinese owners of Volvo over the summer , the announcement was made not in London but in Shanghai.
The only London presence was that of David Cameron — posing slightly awkwardly for photos with the chairman of Geely Automotive in the back of a taxi shipped out from the UK. “I wonder if all taxi drivers across the world think and talk like London cabbies,” Mr Cameron pondered.
The purchase of Manganese by Geely is likely to make the London cab a familiar sight not just in the capital but in China as well. The company is about to deliver 100 vehicles to the Chinese city of Shen Zhen in the next two weeks and more orders are expected soon.
Yesterday the company announced the development of the TX5 model which will create 500 new jobs at the company’s Coventry plant, quadrupling the workforce. The TX5 will initially be a hybrid vehicle but the company plans to produce a fully-electric version within five years.
“We believe that electric cabs are ultimately the future for us,” said a company spokesman. “The London cab is iconic around the world and now being a larger group should help us to expand internationally, making it a familiar sight around the world.” Mr Cameron said the Geely partnership symbolised what he was trying to achieve with his trade visit to China.
He added:“Black cabs are synonymous with London. Getting one in Shanghai today highlights how the links between the UK and China can bring rewards for both — Chinese investment helping British businesses to succeed and grow.”
Geely are investing £80 million in their UK operation, and production will be increased to 22,000 vehicles every year.
Dr George Gillespie, chief executive of the MIRA company co-operating with Geely, who joined Mr Cameron on his visit to China, said: “Having delivered phase one of our work with Geely, we are looking forward to the next 18 months of collaboration...we have high hopes for what we can achieve in China in the future.”
Source ITV news, Evening Standard