October 23, 2008 3:00 am

Meter ticking as 5,400 engines need reworking after under-bonnet fires

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Manganese Bronze, the parent company of London Taxis International, has set aside £4m to recall and rework the engines of 5,400 early production models of its TX4 cabs after the engines of 12 caught fire over the summer, writes Amanda Vermulen.

An investigation into the cause of the under-bonnet fires revealed problems with the emission control equipment, the heat management system and under-bonnet insulation. LTI has repaired 400 of the 1,000 vehicles that were taken off the road in London. A further 4,400 cabs must be repaired, each taking about 10 hours.

John Russell, Manganese Bronze chief executive, said extra capacity had been organised to speed up the task, but at this stage, the company was aiming to complete the repairs by the end of February.

In September the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association said it would "pursue those responsible for compensation, and this could include London Taxis International, retailers of the vehicles, and possibly Manganese Bronze and the finance companies". Mr Russell said Manganese Bronze was in discussions with its insurers and suppliers to establish liability and opportunities to recover costs. "When legal liability has been determined there may be additional costs for driver compensation for the period the vehicles are off the road."

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