Body and chassis production of the iconic London black cab is moving to Shanghai from its UK base in Coventry following a decision by owner Manganese Bronze to hand over a controlling stake to Chinese carmaker Geely.
The Coventry facility, operated by subsidiary London Taxi International (LTI), will now just assemble the cabs with parts shipped from China, meaning the loss of 60 jobs at the UK plant.
Geely, which currently owns a 20% stake in Manganese, is planning to raise it to 51% to take control of the firm and handle vehicle assembly, development and distribution.
Making parts in Shanghai for shipment to Coventry is reported to already have saved the company £1,200 ($1,800) per vehicle so far, with a further £800 ($1,200) expected within six months.
Manganese expects to raise about £14m ($30m) from the share sale, which will come in useful given its £6.9m ($10.4m) loss reported for 2009.
The company already largely manufactures the cab in China but had maintained production of TX4 bodies and chassis in the Midlands region.
The impact on LTI’s finished vehicle carriers in the UK is appears to be unaffected at the present time. While a spokesperson for Ontime Auto was unavailable for comment, Peter Raybould at Acumen Distribution said that it was his understanding that taxis for the UK will still be assembled at Coventry and the company's distribution should be unaffected.
For Acumen the outlook remains optimistic, as suggested by the delivery this week of 17 new DAF 4x2 tractor units. The purchase is part of Acumen’s ongoing investment strategy and expansion plans which involve inbound automotive parts contracts and finished vehicle deliveries.