Chinese automaker Geely to increase production in UK

World Today

Business has accelerated for Chinese automaker Geely. After ending stalled takeover talks in Malaysia, the car giant is revving up production in the United Kingdom.

Geely plans to invest $373.59 million in an all-electric version of London’s iconic black cab.

CGTN’s Richard Bestic reports.

Chinese automaker Geely to increase production in UK

Business has accelerated for Chinese automaker Geely. After ending stalled takeover talks in Malaysia, the car giant is revving up production in the United Kingdom. Geely plans to invest $373.59 million in an all-electric version of London's iconic black cab. CGTN’s Richard Bestic reports from Coventry.

For the makers of London’s iconic black cab, a newly developed computerized production line is a big deal, and the thousand new mostly high-skilled jobs putting together an innovative electric cab.

“I mean this is the first new automotive factory built in the UK for over a decade,” Chris Gubbey, CEO of London Taxi Company said. “But it’s the first one ever dedicated to the manufacture of electric vehicles.’”

That’s important because on the streets of London, toxic fumes from a vast fleet of diesel driven black cabs have been seen as a contributor to lethally high pollution levels.

The new electric black cab along with vans planned for the same site will comply with laws requiring the potential for zero emissions next January.

At its peak, some 20,000 London black cabs will be rolling off the production line every year. At those levels, the iconic London black taxi will need to go international.

“Exports are going to be important,” Gubbey said. “By 2020 we should be having 50 percent of our production going abroad. We cannot, after this investment, afford to be just a one product; one market company.”

It’s a boost for the British car industry, with the U.K. government offering up a $10,000 subsidy for every London cabbie that purchases one of the electric vehicles.

Trials on the new vehicle are still underway, as far from London as the Arctic, with Geely planning a launch this summer.