London Taxi to be made in China
The iconic London Taxi will soon be produced in China. As we reported last year, Geely purchased a majority stake in Manganese Bronze Holdings, PLC, in Coventry, England, the maker of the 59 year-old London Taxi.
The current model is called the TX Series and approximately 2500 units a year are produced. The TX Series has a turbocharged four-cylinder Ford diesel, costs an average $55,000 USD retail price and has a service life expectation of approximately 400,000 miles.
Geely plans to start producing the TX4 in Shanghai in 2008, using Chinese-sourced components. The Chinese-produced TX4 is expected to sell for less, will have annual production of at least 20,000 units per year and will be marketed to consumers and commercial concerns worldwide, including the U.S. market, says Geely. Production at the Coventry plant will continue simultaneously.
The instantly recognizable taxis are noted for their durability, low running costs, easy passenger ingress/egress, and passenger comfort. In the U.S., some of the TX taxis have appeared in various cities as a result of new availability in the States through an American distribution arm. If production increases by a factor of 10, as projected by Geely, you can expect to see more of the taxis in the U.S. in the coming years.
It will be interesting to see how many sales to private individuals will occur in the United States. During production of the famous (and wonderful) Checker Marathon, “civilian” sales accounted for a small but steady part of the Marathon business. Private owners prized their Marathons for the cars’ ability to carry multiple passengers in comfort, easy entry/exit, their durability, low running costs, etc. Since this sounds a lot like the attributes of the London Cab, then it would make sense that some private sales will happen in the States. And just like Checker offering the Marathons in many other colors besides taxicab yellow, I’m sure Geely will offer the TX to consumers in colors other than black.
COPYRIGHT Autosavant.net – All Rights Reserved