Jan. 7 – Geely, the Hangzhou-based Chinese auto manufacturer, will soon sell its London Black Taxi in the United States although no formal launch date has been set.
The Geely manufacturing unit that produces the taxis is a joint-venture with Britain’s Manganese Bronze Holdings and is based in Shanghai. The vehicle is an iconic fixture of London traffic, and is renowned for its extensive passenger leg room, ability to accommodate luggage, and its small wheel base that allows it to maneuver in confined spaces.
Geely has been producing the vehicle since last month and has already sparked intense interest in the Chinese taxi vehicle market. Geely executive director Lawrence Ang said in a statement that the global slowdown and decline in auto sales presented opportunities for the company, more so in the United States.
Ang said: “The sliding global vehicle market will benefit us as it means less competition. After American consumers become familiar with the Geely brand through this vehicle, we’ll begin introducing other Geely automobiles to the United States.”
Geely was the first independent auto manufacturer in China. The move to sell in the United States was seen as a surprising move because both vehicle sales in China and in the United States have dropped.
China vehicle sales plunged by 14.6 percent last year while the U.S. market contracted by 33 percent during the same period.