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Top European auto exec turns to London Taxis
Forster appointed London Taxi Co chairman as Geely works on new tech, including EVs
12 Mar 2015
By TERRY MARTIN
CHINESE auto giant Geely has appointed one of its key operatives, experienced global car industry executive Carl-Peter Forster, as chairman of the board of London Taxi Company.
A senior adviser to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group for the past few years, Mr Forster already sits on the board of subsidiaries Geely Automobile Holdings and Volvo Car Corporation, and is now tasked with guiding the strategic direction of the Geely-owned taxi group, which it rescued from administration in 2013 and is now expanding into various markets – including Australia.
Geely said in a statement released overnight that Mr Forster will “oversee groundbreaking new product developments in the coming years” which include full-electric and ultra-low emissions powertrains and, as GoAuto has reported previously, driver recognition technology and advanced internet-based booking systems.
Geely chairman Li Shufu said: “We are very confident in Carl-Peter’s ability to lead the London Taxi Company and we warmly welcome him as we work to develop current and future products.
“Carl-Peter has already made a significant impact on the business through his work on various Geely Group projects but this appointment will strengthen our ability to drive through further improvements in customer satisfaction and product quality.
Left: Geely Carl-Peter Forster.
“He will also play an important role in our plans to develop a range of pure-electric and ultra-low emission London taxis.”
Mr Forster is a former global group chief executive of India’s Tata Motors – a position which also made him responsible for Jaguar Land Rover – and was previously president of GM Europe, overseeing brands such as Opel, Vauxhall and Saab.
He also spent more than a decade with BMW in a variety of roles, including managing director of BMW South Africa and a member of the German car-maker’s managing board, responsible for manufacturing.
“The black cab is a British icon – with a global reach,” Mr Forster said.
“Under Geely ownership the London Taxi Company has the potential for a bright future. The company is transitioning into a new era of innovative products for the taxi trade and commercial operators across the UK and the world.
“I’m looking forward to working with the management team as we move forward and develop this world-famous brand and concept.”
The company revealed early last year that it was working in conjunction with engine supplier VM Motori to develop a plug-in range-extender version of the TX4 cab, due for release in 2018.
The current model received approval to operate commercially in Victoria last year, building on the successful introduction of a four-year trial involving 100 TX4 taxis operating in Western Australia since late 2013.
A similar program is now underway in Melbourne as the company looks to expand its presence along the east coast of Australia.
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