Future of the black cab in doubt

The sight of the distinctive black cab in London could soon be a thing of the past as Coventry-based manufacturer Manganese Bronze, which produce the London taxis, faces an uncertain future as they call in the administrators.

Manganese was reportedly in talks with Chinese private car manufacturer Geely, which owns a 20 per cent stake in the firm, over a £15million loan but the group have not been able to secure funding.

This has forced Manganese, colloquially known as The London Taxi Company, to accept they will have to bring in administrators, threatening the very existence of one of London’s most recognisable icons.

The decision to appoint administrators has followed a torrid few months for Manganese, with 400 black cabs recalled earlier this month due to a fault with the steering box, stressing the importance of good taxi insurance.

Though there were no crashes or injuries reported as a result of the fault, Manganese, which employs nearly 300 staff in its London Taxi Company division, has already made attempts to contact drivers of the affected vehicles to make sure they are taken off the road, also warning that the recall would have a ‘material and detrimental’ impact on its cashflow.

In its statement released yesterday, Manganese said the group would continue to operate throughout the administration process, saying it ‘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.’

Motorised taxis originally appeared in London at the end of the 19th century and there are now over 20,000 licensed cabs serving the capital.

Manganese has produced more than 100,000 vehicles themselves since 1948 but have been badly hit by a consumer spending slowdown in recent years and increased rivarly from competitors such as Eco City vehicles.

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