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London taxi-maker delays arrival of first van

Reuters  |  LONDON 

By Pitas

LONDON (Reuters) - The London Electric Vehicle Company, which makes the city's famous black taxis, is delaying the arrival of its first van as it now plans to work more closely with Chinese parent company Geely, its boss said.

LEVC was bought out of bankruptcy by the Chinese automaker in 2013, which has since opened a 325-million pound ($380 million) factory in and turned the domestic into an exporter.

The firm said in September it would be trialling its new electric van this year but told on Tuesday that the firm's first commercial vehicle would now come to market "in the early 2020s."

"On our own, we're a and for us to charge ahead and develop our own product and then try to maintain that and put further investment in to build off that, does not make sense," he said.

Gubbey said the decision has not been influenced by Brexit which is due to take place on March 29.

said on Monday it was forecasting flat sales, a sharp slowdown from 2018 as China's giant auto market struggles with slowing economic growth and more cautious consumers.

Asked whether the decision regarding LEVC's first commercial vehicle was linked to economising at Geely, Gubbey said: "That word hasn't come up in the discussion."

LEVC built 1,200 taxis at its last year and expects that to slightly more than double this year as the firm sells more of its electric models in both its home market and to countries such as and

However, like manufacturers across the country, the firm faces the challenge of a possible no-deal Brexit in just 80 days' time, which could lead to tariffs, adding to costs, and customs checks, disrupting the flow of parts and vehicles.

The company is talking to its logistics provider regarding the movement of European-sourced components which are predominately delivered via trucks through the and will have a buffer of finished vehicles by the end of March.

"In terms of the export sales... we are working with our partners in terms of the potential for taking deliveries early so that they'got them there and they built up their own inventory a little bit earlier," said Gubbey.

(Editing by Stephen Addison)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 18:09 IST