London black cab maker in administration talks

Updated: 
Black cab maker Manganese Bronze is in administration
The troubled maker of the distinctive London taxi is to appoint administrators.

Coventry-based Manganese Bronze was reportedly in talks with its Chinese partner Geely over a £15 million loan.

But the group, which recently recalled 400 black cabs due to a steering box fault, said it had been unable to secure funding with various parties and will bring in administrators.

Manganese recently reported a half-year operating loss of £3.1 million.

And earlier this month, the company said it had discovered a defect with new steering boxes in its TX4 models, which were introduced in production at its Coventry factory earlier this year.

Manganese said it discovered the fault after two cab drivers reported problems with steering, but stressed there had been no crashes or injuries as a result.

It warned that the recall and sales suspension would have a "material and detrimental" impact on its cashflow and said it was looking at options for the firm.

The group is urgently contacting drivers of the 400 affected vehicles to make sure they are taken off the road.

In its statement today, Manganese added that a "speedy resolution" of the product recall remained a top priority for the group, which will continue throughout the administration process.

It said it "remains hopeful that the fundamental strengths of the company, the TX4 model and its global reputation will provide the platform for a successful business in the future".

Manganese has been loss-making for the past four years as its London Taxi arm has been hit by a consumer spending slowdown and increased rivalry from competitors, as Autoblog reported last week.

Roger Maddison, national officer for the car industry at the union Unite, said: "The black cab is part of Britain's car manufacturing heritage and we expect the company and the administrators to do everything possible to secure the future of this company."