05/29/2012 03:11 pm ET

London Taxi Company Exports Famous Cabs To Azerbaijan

COVENTRY, England—In a brick complex here behind a Mini Cooper dealership and across from a McDonald's, a small auto maker's staff is working full tilt to satisfy a determined customer: the president of Azerbaijan.

The small auto maker behind the iconic London Taxi is working flat out to fulfill demand from a new customer - the president of Azerbaijan. WSJ's Paul Sonne explains why a nation has become London Taxi's biggest customer. Photo: Getty Images

This is the headquarters of London Taxi Co., the car manufacturer that produces the British capital's iconic black cabs, known for famed bubble tops and spacious passenger areas with facing seats. These days, Azerbaijan, a faraway country known for caviar and petroleum, if it is known at all, has become the taxi maker's comrade in arms.

The former Soviet republic is London Taxi's biggest single customer. It has bought 1,000 London cabs in recent months and is planning to order about 3,000 more.