Saturday, 7 July 2018

London Taxi Maker Geely LEVC, Joins Brexit Chorus

Traditional London black cab maker, the Geely owned London EV Company, has also warned about the impact that a hard Brexit could have on business, with its chairman saying it could dismantle Britain's rejuvenated car industry.

Reuters noted Jaguar Land Rover, the UK's biggest automaker and employer, had said earlier a so-called hard Brexit would cost it GBP1.2bn (US$1.59bn) a year, curtailing its future operations in the UK.

"What we really worry about is if there are big difficulties transporting goods via the [English] Channel, whether it's increased costs, or anything else," LEVC chairman Carl-Peter Forster told Reuters in Berlin at the launch of its electric taxi in Germany.

"Even with no tariffs, lorries could still be stuck at the border for days," he said, highlighting how the industry relied on frictionless supply chains to transport components and assembled vehicles back and forth across the channel.

Chief executive Chris Gubbey told Reuters 33% of LEVC's suppliers are in the UK, another third in Europe and the rest elsewhere worldwide.

Reuters noted LEVC spent GBP300m (US$398m) on a new plant in Ansty near Coventry when it made the shift to electric vehicles, the first new automotive plant to be built in Britain in over a decade.

Forster said "if the wrong decision is made" people should have no illusions about the extent of the impact on Britain's car industry which has been undergoing a revival in terms of manufacturing in recent years.

"You won't see it overnight, it's a process that will take 10-15 years.... It would be madness to wake up in the morning in London and read in the papers that there are virtually no carmakers in Britain, it would be a real shame," he told Reuters.

Forster was speaking as LEVC launched the electric version of the traditional black London taxi cab in Germany, where the market is dominated by Daimler's Mercedes, in which Geely also owns a 10% stake.

LEVC hopes that the electric taxi, which is available in the more typical beige colour of German taxi cabs, will find takers as a debate about clean air and urban mobility rages, Reuters said.

The automaker is close to finalising a deal with also Geely-owned Volvo for sales and servicing in Germany.

Gubbey said LEVC was looking to sell hundreds, rather than thousands, of taxis in Germany and wasn't seeing Brexit having any impact on negotiations with potential customers.

Along with the Netherlands, Norway and now Germany, LEVC is also in negotiations in France and has plans to expand to customers outside of Europe from next year, particularly in the UAE, Australia, Singapore and China, Reuters added.

from Taxi Leaks

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