Manganese Bronze Holdings PLC is an engineering company based in Coventry, England. Since the sale of its components division in 2003 the company has only one operating division - London Taxis International Limited (LTI) - which manufactures and retails London Black Taxis.
LTI in turn is split into two business units:
Manganese Bronze absorbed part of BSA, best known for their motorcycles, in 1973 as part of a rescue plan initiated by the Government. The BSA motorcycles interests trading as the Triumph combined with the Manganese Bronze motorcycle production to form Norton-Villiers-Triumph (NVT). The components businesses of BSA became Manganese Bronze Components Division, comprising sintering, precision casting and metal powders. This division was sold in 2003 and went bankrupt a short while later.
In January 2003, MBH launched Zingo, an innovative taxi hailing system using mobile location technology. This was sold to Computer Cab in November 2004 for £1.
Between July 2003 and November 2004 MBH sold its property portfolio, including the land under its Coventry manufacturing facility.
The classic FX3, predecessor to the FX4 was built by Carbodies, a car body builder in partnership with Mann & Overton and Austin. The FX3 taxi with an Austin badge was produced in 1948. More than 7,000 taxis, mainly destined for London, were produced over ten years. Carbodies concentrated on producing complete taxis, starting with the FX4 in 1959. They were taken over by Manganese Bronze Holdings plc in 1973. In 1982 Carbodies took over the intellectual rights to the FX4 from British Leyland which had absorbed Austin.
The latest model as of 2006 is the TX4. It is powered by a VM R 425 DOHC diesel engine and features many refinements and enhancements.
Its predecessor, the TXII, was introduced in 2002. It is powered by a Ford Dura Torq 2.4-litre diesel engine and features an integral, fold-down ramp for wheelchairs. It also has an intermediate step and swivel-out seat for passengers with moderate walking difficulties. For people with hearing problems it has an induction loop incorporated in the intercom system.
All taxis operated in London, UK must comply with the London Conditions of Fitness, which are managed by the Public Carriage Office (PCO). Formerly a civilan branch of the Metropolitan Police Service, the PCO is now part of Transport for London, under control of the Mayor of London.
Over 100,000 London Black Taxis have been produced at LTI's Coventry site over the past 45 years. Annual production has averaged between 2000 and 2500 units per year through the past decade.
Around two thirds of production goes into London via the company's two dealers, Mann & Overton and KPM. The remainder goes largely to the larger cities in the UK that have adopted the PCO's London Conditions of Fitness (including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Coventry and Bristol). Outside these cities the market for taxis is dominated by Multi-purpose vehicles that have been converted to make them wheelchair accessible in line with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
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