Lost LTI jobs 'could return by 2014'

By Matthew Bates Thursday 07 February 2013 Updated: 08/02 17:14

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Buy photos » Back in business: LTI Taxis, in Holyhead Road, has been sold to Chinese firm Geely in what unions have branded a manufacturing success story. Picture by Jon Mullis 43.012.027.cov.jm1

OVER 90 people who lost their jobs when black cab maker LTI went into administration three months ago could be back at work by the end of the year.

Fifty posts have already been reinstated by Chinese company Geely which bought the Holyhead Road firm for £11million last week.

And the remaining 40 could be set to return later in the year with further jobs a possibility in 2014, according to union Unite.

It is understood the production line should be moving again within two to three weeks and plans are said to be in place for a new model, the TX-5.

The factory took the brunt of the job losses when LTI fell into administration in October, forcing administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers to make 156 redundancies nationally.

Bosses at Geely, which already held 20 per cent stake in LTI, said their priorities included re-establishing the manufacture, sale and servicing of vehicles on "broadly the same basis" as before administration, including continued assembly of taxis at the Coventry plant.

Pete Coulson, regional officer for Unite, told The Observer: "The investment by the Chinese speaks volumes and is testament to their plans for LTI's future in Coventry.

"I met with them before this deal was announced and they really do believe in the product, the factory and the workforce.

"These really are exciting times. We only usually hear of manufacturing when it's doom and gloom, and there's job losses so we really must celebrate this as a success story for the industry."

Geely first invested in LTI back in 2006 and quickly established a facility in China.

After the deal Li Shufu, chairman of the Shanghai-based Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, said the firm was determined to restore the fortunes of the iconic brand.

"We are a long-term and committed investor, and we believe the illustrious past of the London Black Cab can be matched by a successful and healthy future," he said last week.

"Despite its recent difficulties, we have long believed the company and the black cab have huge potential."

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