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Vito eco taxi sales grow but maker records a loss

Electric van and taxi maker Eco City Vehicles has grown half-year revenue by 3.4% thanks to interest in its Mercedes-Benz Vito electric taxi.

The company converts Vitos into London cabs under Mercedes' authority at its factory in Coventry, and has developed an electric version. Eco City vehicles London cab Vito

It reported this morning that Vito taxi sales have risen 34.2% to £7.1m, more than half of its total £12.8m turnover, driven by growth in regional sales and continued growth in London.

Total new Vitos sold increased to 234 from 167 units, and production at Coventry has been ramped up to 12 units per week from 8.

Gross margin rose from 15.7% to 17.7%.

Operating profit from continuing operations before non-recurring items increased to £52,000 from £23,000.

However overall profit before tax slumped from £149,000 in 2009's first half to a loss of £340,000 as the business was hurt by a £150,000 one-off cost of corporate governance advice and refinancing.

The company has been appointed as central London's only Mercedes-Benz Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) aftersales centre, further strengthening ECV's relationship with Mercedes-Benz

Peter DaCosta, chief executive,said: "Despite challenging trading conditions, Eco City has delivered a satisfactory first half result with continued revenue growth and market share gains for the increasingly popular Vito taxi, as drivers and customers alike recognise its superior performance, comfort and efficiency compared with other taxis.

"The group is on track for a stronger second half result as the Vito gains traction with total new unit sales well on the way to crossing the 1,000 milestone soon.

"Co-developed and second tier manufactured in Coventry, this modern Mercedes-branded taxi not only continues to increase its market share but is also receiving strong interest from overseas markets."

A left-hand drive prototype is being developed to attract overseas business.

"Despite difficult conditions for the automotive sector, the group looks to the future with cautious optimism."


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