London Cabs Turn Chinese

One of the most iconic London "brand", the black cab, is about to lose some of its appeal as it will no longer be appanage of the British capital. Since last week, Geely Automobile and Manganese Bronze Holdings, have began production of the TX4 models in Shanghai. And that's not all.

The two plan to sell around 1,000 units every year and that seems to be an understatement, given that the companies have already received 200 orders from corporate and private buyers, Autonews reported.

"Our customers are mostly wealthy people buying the cab for their loved ones. Driving a classic black cab can attract a lot of eyeballs. There aren't many out there in the streets," Jinliang Lau, Geely sales general manager said.

The news wouldn't be as bad if the Chinese would limit themselves at just that. But no, driven by the "lots of eyeballs" hunger, the company will contact local governments and taxi operators in local cities.

"We are in talks with other cities, mostly provincial capitals, and would hopefully get the cab in cities such as Lanzhou and Chengdu before the end of the year. We have 30 black cabs in service in Beijing since the Olympics and they are quite popular among local residents," Lau was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Costs wise, the Chinese build TX4 is some one third cheaper than its British counterpart. The Chinese black cabs are priced in between 98,000 and 228,000 yuan ($28,970-33,360).

Just to remind you, this development is not just a Chinese mood. Geely is the majority shareholder in Manganese Bronze. According to the agreement signed between the two parties, not only the cabs will be built in China as well, but Chinese parts will be built in London cabs as well.

According to John Russell, Manganese Bronze CEO, incorporating Chinese parts into UK built vehicles will save some 2,000 pounds ($3,272) per cab by the end of this year.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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