Sunday 3 February 2013

Geely rescues Manganese Bronze

Production of London TX4 taxi cabs could begin within weeks at the Coventry site of Manganese Bronze following the decision by Geely UK to buy the company out of administration for £11 million.

The acquisition came after Geely, the company’s biggest creditor, refused to provide funding to keep the cab maker afloat. Geely owned about 25 per cent of Manganese Bronze. The move will save about 100 jobs at the Coventry-based cab maker.

Daniel Li, chairman of Geely UK, noted the Chinese company would use Manganese Bronze as a vehicle to sell Geely cars in Europe.

Li said that Geely planned to invest between £30 and 50 million over the next five years to introduce new models into production.

The company hopes to launch its new model, the TXN, a smaller private hire vehicle, into production by 2017.

In 2010, Geely Automobile Holdings Limited purchased Swedish car-maker Volvo from Ford Motor Company for £1.1 billion and appears to be struggling with the acquisition. In the 11 months up to November last year, it sold 37,633 Volvo cars in China, a drop of nine per cent.

Total sales of Geely Automobile Holdings Limited for 2012 were 483,483 units, a rise of 15 per cent over 2011. The sales forecast for 2013 is 560,000, a rise of 16 per cent over 2012. Exports in December 2012 were 10,900 but no figures have been given for total exports in 2012. December 2012 sales were 59,654 units.

Manganese Bronze went into administration last October when it was hit by the discovery of defects in one or more components in the TX4 that it is understood had been supplied from China. Sales of TX4 have also suffered in the face of the stiff competition of rivals.