London, UK – Do London’s black cabs face the end of the road? That’s looking more likely than ever after the supplier of the famous vehicles, Manganese Bronze, revealed it was calling in insolvency administrators. Manganese Bronze has elected administrators after it “failed to secure funding on acceptable terms to address the group’s financial needs.”
That means the humble black cab, as much a part of the London landscape as red telephone boxes and the Tube map, could disappear from the roads of the British capital.
Manganese Bronze’s financial woes are not new. CNN reports that the company has been shedding money for years, and a mass recall of 400 TX4 London taxis earlier this month has only worsened its financial troubles.
Sales of the new model were suspended due to the recall, with the manufacturer revealing that a steering fault was to blame. At the time, Manganese Bronze admitted that the suspension of sales would result in a “very material and detrimental impact” on cash flow; the move to appoint administrators suggests that such a prediction was accurate. Ultimately, it could mean black cabs face an unhappy end.
Manganese Bronze has said managing the recall remained its most important priority while in administration but that “the fundamental strengths of the company, the TX4 model and its global reputation, will provide the platform for a successful business in the future”.
As a Brit who has traveled in hundreds of the wonderfully spacious, characterful black cabs, here’s hoping Manganese Bronze’s troubles are overcome.
[Image via Patrick Mason]