Geely discloses today that Shanghai LTI, its joint venture with Manganese Bronze Holdings, begins exporting SKD (semi knocked down) TX4 to Europe this month. The plan is to provide 160 kits every month to cut the car’s production cost in the UK.
(TX4 with Shanghai skyline as background)
The Shanghai-based venture was formed in 2007, and has been manufacturing TX4 since July 2008. While used mostly as taxicabs in the UK, the TX4 is marketed in China as a premium sedan for entrepreneurs and executives–although most consumers view it as an oddity. Due to its overseas origins, it has been employed by the government as a symbol of China’s openness to the world at several big events including the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Shanghai Expo, and will provide service at the upcoming Asian Games in Guangzhou.
In China, TX4 gets two engine options, a gasoline 2.4L and a diesel 2.5L, and sells for 208,000-228,000 Yuan per unit, about 1/3 less than in the UK.
Chinese production and sales of TX4 have so far been limited. Last year, about 1,000 units were sold. Geely plans to increase its annual sales to 3,000-5,000 units in the coming years.
(A TX4 at 2010 Shanghai Expo)