Looks like the black London taxi cab won't be disappearing from roads thanks to the saviors at Geely. You may remember Geely from such takeovers as Volvo, where they're redefining the famed Swedish brand as a company that makes big luxury sedans for China, sexy hatchbacks and wagons for Europe and big crossovers for Americans.
But they've decided to save the TX4 black cabs by buying Manganese Bronze, the manufacturer that went bankrupt last year, for £11 million, as Financial Times reported Friday. Geely already owned 20% of the company.
Unlike the Crown Vic, which isn't going to come back made by someone other than Ford, the London taxi has essentially been made in one form or another since 1958, starting with the Austin FX4. Since then, manufacturing responsibilities have transferred to British Leyland, then Carbodies, then finally Manganese's London Taxis International. The current update of the car, the TX4, has been around since 2007.
The iconic London taxi is already under siege from Nissan, as they're pushing an NV200 taxi cab similar to what's going to try and be the next iconic cab of New York City. FT reported plans are on the drawing board for a nimbler, more efficient London taxi due for release in a few years in a bid to thwart Nissan's rising power in the cab sector.
Here's to hoping they're successful, because it would be a shame for another city to lose an icon as strong as a taxi cab. No one cares what it runs on, but if it's suddenly a Volvo five-pot, I'd be extremely interested. Anyone from Geely listening?