London black cab maker resolves steering defect

LONDON Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:00am IST

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LONDON (Reuters) - PricewaterhouseCoopers, administrators to Manganese Bronze Holdings Plc MNGS.L, said on Thursday it had found a solution to the steering box defect affecting its new TX4 model.

The maker of London's black taxi, which has been reporting losses since 2008, recalled about 400 TX4 London taxis last month after it found a defect in a steering box that was introduced in February.

PwC said it had secured supply chain availability and logistics from a UK supplier to begin replacing the faulty steering boxes, which it aims to have completed by mid-December.

"Having secured replacement parts for the entire recalled fleet, the program to fit these new components has been devised so that all recalled fleet cars will be fitted with new replacement parts by mid-December," said Matthew Hammond, joint administrator and PwC partner.

The steering box is a design from a supplier in China, which was introduced in the company's Coventry factory in late February.

"We are working to get taxis back on the road as quickly as possible but clearly, with the large number of vehicles affected in London and also in the regions, this work will take several weeks to complete," said Hammond.

Manganese Bronze appointed accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers as administrators in October to look at options including the sale of the company if funding cannot be arranged to save it.

PwC has cut 156 jobs at the company last month, with the majority axed at Manganese Bronze's manufacturing site in Coventry, while other positions went at dealerships across Britain.

Manganese Bronze, which is 20 percent owned by China's Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd (0175.HK) has been losing market share to Mercedes Vito taxis sold by Eco City Vehicles (ECV.L).

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by David Gregorio)

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