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New Hackney Cab Unveiled in Shanghai
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The first Chinese-made model of the reputed London taxi "Black Cab" debuted at the 12th Shanghai Automobile and Technology Exhibition on Saturday.


Li Shufu, chairman of Geely Automobile and K. Russell, CEO of Manganese Bronze Holdings, unveiled the model car at the auto show, which formally opens on Sunday.


Geely signed with Manganese Bronze Holdings, manufacturer of the famous London taxi, an agreement in October last year to jointly produce the taxi. Geely plans to formally produce models of the cab from 2008 in a new facility adjacent to its automobile production base in Shanghai.


A total of 20,000 "Black Cabs" will be produced a year in Shanghai, according to Geely.


Geely will sell the cars in Asia, while Manganese Bronze, which invested 19.85 million pounds in the joint venture, will sell the cars to markets outside Asia.


The cars will cost between 150,000 and 200,000 yuan (about US$19,400 to 25,900), or about half of the price in Britain, according to Geely.



"The design of the cars has inherited features of the 'Black Cab'. For example, physically-challenged people can get into the car through a slide board from the back, without getting off their wheelchairs." said a staff from Geely at the show.


The "Black Cab", which was put into production in 1948 in Britain, is famous for its spacious design and long endurance. It has become an iconic vehicle on London streets


After the Chinese model hit market, the cab is expected to be a commonly-seen landscape in Chinese cities.


"We believe the joint venture can create significant value for shareholders of both sides and we look forward to a promising export prospect." said Li Shufu.


Geely Automobile Holdings, which began production in 1996 and is now the country's largest privately-owned automaker, has sold 175,635 cars in two local subsidiaries last year.


(Xinhua News Agency April 22, 2007)

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