Geely to invest $372m on new London Taxi facility
Updated: 2015-03-27 05:58
By ZHANG CHUNYAN in Coventry, UK(chinadaily.com.cn)
British Prime Minister David Cameron and The Mayor of London Boris Johnson visit the London Taxi Company in Coventry, United Kingdom on Mar 26.[Provided to China Daily]
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd will invest 250 million pounds ($372 million) to build a new facility for the London Taxi Company in Coventry, United Kingdom, the Chinese company said on Thursday.
The 85,000-square-meter site, which is close to the company's existing factory, will house all of the company's research, development and assembly operations.
Up to 1,000 new jobs will be created through the investment in the site, which will eventually have the capacity to assemble up to 36,000 vehicles a year.
"This investment will secure the future of London Taxi Co. Today's announcement symbolizes the close business links between China and the UK, which is an attractive market for Chinese investment," said Li Shufu, founder and chairman of Geely.
"The London Taxi expansion will show how we can harness our resources, industrial knowhow and technology to produce an environmentally friendly next-generation London Black Cab," Li said.
This is a ten-fold increase on capacity at the company's existing site, which has been home to the London Taxi Company for almost 70 years.
"Geely's 250 million pounds investment and the creation of up to 1,000 jobs is great news for Coventry and a vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and secure the recovery," British Prime Minister David Cameron said.
"The London Black Cab is iconic around the world and I am pleased that the next generation will have a state-of-the-art production facility in the UK," Cameron said.
"Britain is one of the most open and attractive economies. Chinese investment is welcomed and it is good for China and for Britain interms of creating jobs and livelihoods. Over the time these taxis will be seen being exported all over the world," Cameron added.
Geely's commitment to the London Taxi Company marks the largest ever greenfield investment in the UK by a Chinese company and is being backed with funding from the UK government's regional growth fund and other UK and local government support.
The investment comes as the London Taxi Company continues the development of the next generation London Black Cab, which will be an ultra-low emissions vehicle to comply with new regulations being introduced by the Mayor of London that will reduce the level of emissions allowed from new taxis from January 2018.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "The production of zero emission capable vehicles, incorporating the latest state of the art technology, is essential as we strive to create the greenest taxi fleet in the world for London."
"I warmly welcome Geely's commitment to building this impressive new factory in Coventry, highlighting the UK's position as a world leader in the development and manufacturing of ultra low emission technologies. The vehicles this facility produces will help transform London's taxi fleet, boost jobs and growth in London and the West Midlands, and secure the long-term future of the taxi industry, whilst ensuring everyone who lives, work in or visits our city has the cleanest possible air to breathe," Johnson said.
The new vehicle will be developed using significantly increased UK and EU content, bringing economic benefits through the supply chain. It will be launched in the UK at the end of 2017 and across international markets in 2018.
The investment underlines Geely's commitment to London Taxi Company and the UK following its rescue of the business out of administration in 2013, since which time the company has invested significantly to restart production and fund the development of the successor to the existing TX4 taxi.
Production of the iconic London Black Cab began at the London Taxi Company's existing Coventry site in 1948 since when more than 130,000 vehicles have rolled off the assembly lines.
Kevin Sui contributed to this story