Two Hearts Phil Collins
1 February 2013, 19:35
More than 100 jobs have been secured after the Coventry-based maker of the distinctive London taxi was bought out of administration in a deal worth £11 million.
Manganese Bronze just outside the city centre has been acquired by Chinese private automaker Geely, which owned a 20% stake in the firm before it collapsed into administration last October.
Manganese hit the wall after recalling 500 black cabs due to a steering box fault, which came on top of mounting losses at the group.
Geely pledged to retain the group's 107 staff and existing manufacturing site in Coventry.
But 156 jobs have already been axed since Manganese called in administrators.
The deal has been welcomed by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London.
He said:''I am delighted that Geely has successfully secured the future of the London Taxi Company, ensuring the continuing manufacture of a world famous, fully accessible and instantly recognisable vehicle synonymous with London.''
The group said it hopes to resume production as soon as possible following the deal.
Geely said it was''confident'' of being able to create new jobs and plans new taxi models with improved energy efficiency, while it is also looking at launching into the private hire market.
Unite union regional officer Peter Coulson said:''Geely's decision to buy the London Taxi Company and to keep production in Coventry is a testament to the skills of the workforce that build the iconic black cab. Without the Coventry base the vehicle would have lost its unique character. Unite have been in constructive talks with Geely and we look forward to a strong working relationship.''