London black taxi maker plots rapid expansion
The London Electric Vehicle Co (LEVC), which makes the city's famous black taxis, on Wednesday forecast a 50% jump in demand in 2020 and said it would create 100 new jobs in the UK as it gets ready to launch a new electric van.
LEVC, based near Coventry and owned by China's Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, sold 2,500 of its environmentally friendly vehicles in 2019 and said it expects to more than double its reach by operating in 20 countries by the end of the year.
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Geely has invested 500 million pounds ($649.1 million) in a new factory in the small midlands town of Ansty since 2014 and expects it to be at full working capacity, producing 20,000 vehicles a year, by 2022.
Other than the London-style TX Taxi and TX Shuttle, the company, which was rescued from bankruptcy by the Chinese automaker in 2013, plans to launch a new electric van in the fourth quarter.
The new electric van will provide connectivity between out-of-town depots and city centres, the company said.
In 2020 LEVC will add new export markets in the Middle East, New Zealand and Australia, as it seeks to shift from 90% domestic sales and 10% export to 60% export by 2022.
British car output dropped last year at the fastest rate since the 2008-2009 recession, hit by slumping exports and diesel demand, an industry body said last month.