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London Black Cab maker struggling for survival

Posted Oct 24th 2012 3:33PM

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The roots of London's Black Cab dig all the way back to the Austin FX3 of 1948, the current overall shape recognized by any modern visitor to London showing up in 1958 on the Austin FX4. Manganese Bronze Holdings Plc has been the company behind the Black Cab since 1984, but failing to invest in the product and increased competition have sent the icon into administration. Manganese has posted losses since 2008, sold a share of itself to Geely (yes, that Geely) in 2010, and had to post a 3.9 million pounds loss this summer due to an accounting error blamed on a new IT system. Unable to secure additional funding from Geely or any other investor, the company's been forced to enter the UK version of bankruptcy.

Manganese is considered the last Coventry-based auto manufacturer. However, manufacturing was moved to China after the Geely deal and the parts are merely assembled in Coventry. That hasn't provided the expected savings, and when the new TX4 cab needed to be recalled earlier this year over a steering fault, the money crunch got tighter. On top of that, Manganese owners have been complaining about service for years, Mercedes has been swiping customers with a Black Cab Vito, Nissan is poised to swipe more with its NV200. Point being, it has a great deal of work to do in order to be a going concern again.

A statement released by the company says, "The Board remains hopeful that the fundamental strengths of the company, the TX4 model and its global reputation will provide the platform for a successful business in the future."

News Source: Cars UK

Image Credit: Dan Kitwood / Getty


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