One of London's icons, the old-fashion style black cab now is made in China. Before long, they will be seen in China's major cities.
The manufacturer, Hangzhou-based Geely Holding Group, and its British partner Manganese Bronze Holdings PLC, plan to sell about 1,000 of the cabs, also known as TX4 model, in China this year.
So far, over 200 orders have been secured. Liu Jinliang, vice president of Geely told Reuters that most of the buyers are rich people who want to please their loved ones because "driving a classic black cab can attract a lot of eyeballs and there aren't many out there in the streets."
Geely has put 30 black cabs in service in Beijing since last summer.
Liu said he expects they will sell up to 5,000 cabs in the next two to three years. Manufactured in Shanghai, each cab is priced at between 198,000 yuan (US$ 28,971) and 228,000 yuan (US$ 33,360), just around one third of the price for those made in the UK.
Coventry-based Manganese Bronze, which has produced more than 100,000 black cabs since 1948, reached Geely as early as 2006 for the 53 million pounds (US$ 87 million) worth of deal. Under the contract, Geely will provide over 90 percent of components for the taxi production in the Coventry's factory, which, according to Manganese Bronze's chief executive John Russell, would save 2,000 pounds (US$ 3296) per car by the end of 2009.