News : London Taxi Company given go-ahead for new £150m plant

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Story: Coventry Telegraph

Additions: Andrew Elphick

Coventry’s London Taxi Company has been given permission to build a new plant at Ansty Park.

Officials at Rugby Borough Council gave the go-ahead for a new £150million factory at a recent Planning Committee meeting.

The application is for a state-of-the-art facility for research, development and assembly of high technology electric vehicles, including the next generation of London taxi.

The base will also be the firm’s new headquarters and will include a substantial research and development department, supply chain team, global sales and marketing and administrative functions necessary to support the assembly operations of the new vehicles.

The plant would initially employ 550 staff with an anticipated rise to over 1000 in the next few years. The majority of the jobs would be new – though it is intended to move some workers from the company’s base in Holyhead Road, Coundon, which would remain open.

Last month, the iconic black cab firm earmarked the site near Coventry as a ‘leading contender’ for its new plant – which has been in the pipeline for over a year. The assembly operations will be based on low-volume production using skilled labour as opposed to automated high-volume production – with all components imported to the site from suppliers in the UK and abroad.

TX4

It is anticipated that approximately 12,000 vehicles will be produced each year based on a single shift system.

According to the plans, the rectangular building will provide a total over 25,000sq.m of floorspace with over 20,000sq.m in the main production/assembly hall and nearly 5,000sq.m in ancillary offices, reception/showroom and staff welfare facilities.

A service yard would be located on the south side of the proposed building and includes a dedicated area for the parking and storage of new vehicles together with ancillary structures including battery store, waste management area, a petrol storage area and filling point and car charging point. The layout also allows for the potential future expansion of the assembly hall on the east side with a “squeak and rattle” test track located on the eastern edge of the site to accommodate an extended facility.

Interestingly, it is noted that “in supporting information it is stated that the company intends to invest £200m to help develop advanced green taxi technology over the next five years with the aim of launching a zero-emission electric powered London taxi by 2018 and other vehicle variants of the same.

“The development would initially employ 550 people with an anticipated increase to over 1000 employees in the next few years. The majority of the jobs would be new though it is intended that some employees will transfer from the company’s existing site in Coventry.”

Obviously this is great news on a number of levels. Firstly, the development would keep LTC in and around Coventry as a major employer. It would give the firm modern, expanded facilities which the firm needs if it is to expand production.

Secondly, the investment proposed (some £200m) is more than that previously suggested, and will generate a hundreds of manufacturing jobs, taking total employment at the firm locally s high as 1000 .

Thirdly, the plans would suggest – for LTC at least – a significant increase in output from a few thousand to some 12,000 units a year.

Fourthly, the development would include ‘state of the art’ facilities for the research, development and assembly of hi-tech electric vehicles, including the next-generation London taxi. The new facility would be LTC’s new HQ.

Mike Humble

Upon leaving school, Mike was destined to work on the Railway but cars were his first love. An apprenticeship in a large family Ford dealer was his first forray into the dark and seedy world of the motor trade.

Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications

10 Comments

  1. Are they making a new model or just another rehash of the old car. The other company making the hybrid taxi will be its main opposition.

  2. Why are they keeping the old site open as well? They can’t be expecting sales to rise THAT much are they?

  3. A major vote of confidence in Coventry, and 1000 much needed jobs for the city. While other manufacturers have abandoned Coventry since the eighties, it’s nice to see London Taxi investing in the city and keeping car production alive.

    • As Mike has written above, Ansty is in neighbouring Rugby Borough, but it is on the outskirts of Coventry, and it is great to see a large investment in the company, by their owner Geely, who also owns Volvo.

      It was also announced today that Carl Peter Forster, once of GM (Opel and Saab), then JLR and Tata, will head up LTI. These are interesting times.

  4. As a former employee of the London Taxi Co,I have to say that this is a great move by the owners of the brand, Geely There was a time when I feared that they would not commit fully to this product. A great boost for the workforce in Coventry .

  5. Good news for our motor industry, for the local area and for Ansty Park.

    Last year I negotiated terms for my employers to acquire a site at Ansty Park from Homes and Communities Agency, which is selling individual plots and putting infrastructure in place. It’s a first class business location, one narrow field width from the M6/M69 Interchange. A number of R&D-intensive businesses are already there.

    Our pre-purchase surveys showed that part of the site was once used as airfields, and later for storage of new cars prior to despatch.

    Recently we were approached on behalf of HCA, enquiring if we would mind ‘a taxi firm’ setting up on the estate. This announcement is much better news than my initial mental image of a local minicab firm’s row of tired Toyotas.

  6. A very impressive investment, which I doubt that LTI could raise from their own coffers.
    The new location will certainly beat being hemmed in behind a BMW dealer and a railway viaduct on the Holyhead Road!
    LTI will also be neighbours to the Manufacturing Technology Centre, who might know a thing or two about EV technology….

  7. Is this another DeLorean project, London Black cabbies are up in arms about two issues:
    (1) Uber, (2) the forced demise of their cabs in compliance with the London low emission zone, Is this new plant intended to supply the new zero – emmission London sales to replace the exhaust smogger-smoker that is the London black cab, and the penetration of Uber can only be slowed, not eliminated, even TFL dare not take on Uber through the Courts, it would be ruled as a restriction of trade and competition by the EEC process.

  8. If London Taxis had petrol engines in lieu of the problem of Nox emitting diesels, then they could have continued as before without having to converrt to zero-emission batterypowered taxis

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