London taxi cabs set for Chinese production

LONDON, Oct 4, 2006 (AFP) – The world-famous black London taxi cab will soon be seen on the streets of China after its maker announced a multi-million-pound deal Wednesday to build 20,000 vehicles per year in Shanghai. Specialist carmaker Manganese Bronze said it had agreed a 53-million-pound (78.6-million-euro, 99.7-million-dollar) joint-venture deal with Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holdings to produce the black cab in eastern China.

The venture “will increase the appeal of our iconic vehicle around the world”, Manganese Bronze chairman Tim Melville-Ross said in a joint statement announcing the news.

The deal has no implications for the future of the 350 people at its factory in Coventry, west central England, a company spokesman added.

Li Shufu, chairman of Geely, said in the statement: “The London black taxi is an iconic vehicle and we believe that the joint venture can create significant value for shareholders of both sides.”

There are about 21,000 Manganese Bronze black cabs in the British capital and thousands more across Britain, as well as small numbers around the rest of the world in countries such as the United States, Spain and South Africa.

The deal with Geely, which is not yet lega