Former supplier rides to the rescue of Manganese Bronze

Posted on 26 Nov 2012 by Tim Brown

The former supplier of steering boxes to London taxi manufacturer Manganese Bronze has agreed to provide new supplies of vital parts to get up to 400 stricken London taxis back on the road.

Until four years ago Reading-based Magal Engineering was the main supplier of the steering boxes but the contract was switched to a supplier in China to cut costs.

Recently however, the Chinese-made boxes were discovered to have serious faults and were one of the contributors to Manganese Bronze being put into administration last month.

The incorrectly made parts led to 400 taxis being taken off the road due to fears that the steering mechanics migh fail during use.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Gamil Magal, chief executive and main owner of Magal Engineering, warned of the pitfalls of moving parts supply to a low cost economy.

Mr Magal said: “I understand they [Manganese Bronze] felt it was doing the right thing. But these [steering boxes] are complicated parts. Anyone deciding to get them made by a supplier has to be careful they get the engineering and design correct. Otherwise there’s a chance you will see a loss of quality.”

Manganese Bronze, said the company had completed a full evaluation of the Chinese supplier before deciding to switch but that process control issues had impacted on the quality of the supplied parts.