6 March, 2015: Geely announces today that it will invest £250m to build a new state-of the-art research, development and assembly facility for the London Electric Vehicle Company as the group prepares for the introduction of the next generation electric and ultra-low emission London Black Cab.
The investment will see the construction of a new purpose-built facility in the Ansty area of Coventry, close to the London Electric Vehicle Company’s existing factory. The 85,000 sq metre site 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 is a ten-fold increase on capacity at the company’s existing site in Holyhead Road, Coventry, which has been home to the London Electric Vehicle Company for almost 70 years.
Geely’s commitment to the London Electric Vehicle 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 Electric Vehicle 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 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 LTC 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 Electric Vehicle Company’s existing Coventry site in 1948 since when more than 130,000 vehicles have rolled off the assembly lines. Today's investment will ensure that Coventry remains the home of the London Black Cab.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Geely’s £250 million investment and the creation of up to 1000 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. It means that more hardworking people will have the financial security that a job and regular pay-packet bring and demonstrates that the UK is open for business. 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”.
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”.
Li Shufu, founder and chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, said: “This investment will secure the future of London Electric Vehicle Company. Almost two years after we acquired this company – in which we first took a stake in 2006 – it has become an important part of our global automotive strategy. Today’s announcement symbolises the close business links between China and the UK, which is an attractive market for Chinese inward investment. The London Taxi expansion will demonstrate the benefits of Anglo-Chinese partnerships, showing how we can harness our resources, industrial know-how and technology to produce an environmentally-friendly next generation electric and ultra-low emission London Black Cab that China and the UK will be proud of, and which can be a world-beater in export markets.”
Peter Johansen, Vice President of UK Operations for the London Electric Vehicle Company, said: ‘Coventry has been the home of the iconic London Black Cab for nearly 70 years so we are delighted that it will remain so for the next 70 as the London Electric Vehicle Company expands and goes from strength to strength. We are proud of the company’s regional heritage in an area that is steeped in automotive and manufacturing history. Geely’s investment in this new facility is testament to the dedication of all those who work at the London Electric Vehicle Company and this city’s reputation for producing world-class engineers. We intend to build vehicles in the vanguard of environmental technology which set new standards for comfort and performance.’