Posted Feb 4th 2013 8:45AM
Geely, the Chinese company that also owns Volvo, now owns Manganese Bronze Holdings (MBH), makers of London's Black Cab. MBH went into administration late last year, and some had looked to Geely to rescue the company in which it had a 19.7-per cent equity stake. Although it's taken three months to strike a deal, and more than half of the workforce was let go, Geely finally agreed to buy MBH for 11.4 million pounds (CAD$17.8M).
The purchase confers to Geely "the business and principal assets" of MBH, including the intellectual property and trademarks, equipment, properties, unsold stock, "goodwill" and complete ownership of the China-based joint venture in which Geely was producing the Englong SC7-RV. Happily for fans of the iconic product, the deal keeps production in Coventry and Geely has stated its desire to reestablish and grow the firm.
Reasserting authority in the UK taxi market and getting back in the good books of owners will take money and commitment. Manufacturers like Nissan and Mercedes-Benz have been poaching former owners of LTI products, and what current owners have seen as a lack of service and support has turned apathy into ire. Geely will need to put the time and money into new, competitive and reliable models to make a success of its latest purchase. If those new models can retain the Black Cab's aesthetic place in the London streetscape, all the better for it.
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