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Sample TX4 Taxi
Hailo to launch in Liverpool.
After a meeting with the founder members of “Hailo” (Cab Drivers just like YOU)
200 drivers will be needed to register before launch
To register go to www.hailocab.com/uk/drivers
This is the NV200, Nissan’s take on the classic London black cab which will go on sale in 12 month’s time. The new vehicle aims to both finally break the hold the classic LTI taxi has on the market and dramatically undercut the new Mercedes black cab on price.
Powered by a 1.5-litre, Euro V, diesel engine in either 90bhp or 110bhp guises, the new cab will be priced from £28,000. In manual transmission form, the NV200 is claimed to offer “50 per cent” better economy than today’s most economical London cab, which is expected to translate into a figure of around 42mpg. Nissan is also working on an automatic version of the new cab.
Nissan claims that this engine will save the average London cabbie about £1000 per year in fuel as well as seeing a significant reduction in particulate pollution. This is seen as essential by London Mayor Boris Johnson, because London blacks cabs travel around 230 million miles per year and, although there are only 22,000 black cabs on the road, they are responsible for 20 per cent of the particulate pollution in the capital.
Nissan will also begin testing an all-electric, battery-powered, version of this London cab in 2013. Nissan says it was inspired to break into the British market for London cabs after winning the competition to supply the new-generation taxi for New York, which is also based on the NV200 van.
Competition in the London cab market has been strictly limited because of the regulation that requires cabs to have a tight 25ft turning circle. Nissan has managed to achieve this in a front-drive vehicle by re-engineering the front suspension.
Bolted to the bottom of the NV200’s McPherson strut is a similar ‘wishbone’ attachment to that used on Vauxhall’s HiPer strut. The drive shaft is split into two, with a second universal joint mounted on the lower wishbone. This means the drive shaft attached to the front wheel is very short, allowing the wheels to turn to a much more acute angle than conventional front-drive vehicles can manage. This set-up means that the front track is now about 200mm wider than on the donor NV200 van.
Features include twin sliding doors to boost passenger access, and a ramp into the rear to enable easy wheelchair access.
Nissan sources say that they expect the normal UK-wide market for London cabs to significantly expand from today’s annual volumes of between 2000 and 3000 per year. New scrappage rules aimed at taking the most polluting vehicles off the market come into force in London. At the end of this month, any black cab over 15 years old will no long be able to be licenced for use.
A union has called for the government to assist the black cab maker Manganese Bronze, which has called in administrators.
The Coventry-based firm, which trades as the London Taxi Company, had its shares suspended earlier this month after a fault with 400 of its vehicles.
The firm employs 288 staff, with 170 of them based at its factory in the city.
Union Unite said it would contact the government. The firm’s boss remains “hopeful” of a successful resolution.
The company had been trying to secure a loan from Chinese shareholder Geely, a partner since 2006.
Unite national officer Roger Maddison said: “We hope Geely is ready to come up with some assistance but if not then the government’s going to have to help.
“This is what the government’s plan for saving the economy is.
“They’re going to have to come up with some money and help and they’re going to have to come up with it soon.
“They’re shedding jobs in the public sector and expecting the private sector to pick up that work so when companies like London Taxis are in trouble they’re going to have to help otherwise their whole business plan is going to fail.”
The latest problem relates to a fault with the TX4 vehicle’s steering box which the company said had not put anyone in danger – but “in extreme cases, it could affect the ability to steer the steering wheel”.
Chief executive of Manganese Bronze, John Russell, said he was uncertain what effect going into administration would have on jobs but he remained optimistic about the future.
Mr Russell said: “We’re a business with a fantastic reputation, everyone calls us an icon and we had a huge amount of interest in what was happening to the company yesterday.
“I think that in turn will create a lot of interest and the administrators will have a lot of choices about what to do with the business.”
He said the catalyst for the firm’s problems was the credit crunch.
“Our business halved in the space of two years and we got into all sorts of difficulty in terms of the cost structure.
“When the recall was announced we suddenly went to a position where we couldn’t sell cars. We had no money coming into the business,” he said.
He said there had been efforts to protect the business: “Geely were very co-operative, very supportive but at the end of the day the business just couldn’t take on the debt that was being contemplated.
“Geely are going to play a part in this process. They are our partner, they are a key supplier to the business, they were a historic investor and there is a big debt owed to Geely as a result of this.”
Mr Russell said the key thing was for the steeling problem to be fixed so the business could start “generating revenue”.
“That will give us a period of grace whilst the administrator looks for options for the business.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/oct/23/black-cab-firm-accused-over-vehicle-fault?newsfeed=trueThursday, October 25th, 2012
The maker of London‘s black cabs knew about vehicle steering problems that led to the company’s collapse for more than a month before it ordered a recall of 400 taxis, according to drivers and unions.
The manufacturer, Manganese Bronze, which is due to call in administrators this week, could face an investigation by the Financial Services Authority, or the Insolvency Service, if it is proved directors knew about the problems before informing the stock market in a timely manner.
The RMT union, which represents black-cab drivers in London, said it was consulting lawyers about possible legal action to recoup any financial losses from the firm’s collapse.
The union has called on the London mayor, Boris Johnson, to suspend his scheme to ban any taxi which is more than 15 years old, due to the recall that is leaving fewer cabs on the road.
It has been revealed that the two incidents that finally led to the company recalling the cabs took place in London and Edinburgh on 30 September and 4 October, but that the firm continued selling the £35,000 vehicles. One sale to a driver occurred only hours before the recall.
The collapse has left 1,500 cab drivers across the UK without a warranty on their vehicles, while the 300 owners of the faulty TX4 models are unable to use them.
Martin Adkins, a taxi driver from Carshalton, south London, said he drove his brand new TX4 off the London Taxi Company’s showroom forecourt on the afternoon of 11 October. At 7.30am the following morning, shares in Manganese Bronze were suspended and later that day 400 cabs were recalled.
He said: “I bought the taxi in good faith and did a shift that same night. Then, a day later, I was told the cab had been recalled. I was absolutely gobsmacked. I couldn’t believe it. They must have known that there was a problem when they sold it to me.”
Jason King, a driver from Hertfordshire, who has been driving black cabs for 10 years, said he first informed Manganese Bronze, which trades as the London Taxi Company, on 4 September of steering problems after he bought a cab.
King said: “Immediately, I could tell there was a problem with the steering and called up the company.
“They told me to bring it in a few days later and the tracking was tightened, which made a slight difference. However, it was still pulling the vehicle towards the kerb.
“I phoned on three occasions and was told ‘it is a characteristic of the cab’. Even when I bought the cab I had heard about problems with the steering, but had been assured these had been fixed.”
Between the time King contacted the company and the recall on 12 October, the firm had sold a further 99 cabs.
Manganese Bronze knew about steering issues in 2011 and decided to replace steering boxes with parts from a new supplier in February this year, although directors did not think it necessary to inform the stock market at their annual results launch in March. However, the new parts also failed and the steering reliability was an ongoing issue for several drivers.
On Tuesday, Manganese Bronze declined to comment.
Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said the company had known about historical steering issues for several months.
He said: “Drivers I have spoken to have been experiencing steering problems for some time, long before this recall. The company has tried to fix the problems in the past but obviously this time they can’t. It has left 1,500 drivers without a warranty, 300 without a cab, and there’s not a single taxi in London available to rent.”
He has written to Johnson asking for the rules on ageing cabs being refused licences to be relaxed until the recall is resolved.
Mike Tinnion, of the RMT, said eight union members had submitted details which were being looked at by the union’s lawyers for possible legal action.
He said: “A number of our members have said to us they experienced driving problems with the cabs … It is difficult to believe the firm didn’t know about the steering problems before the recall.”
The company announced plans to call in administrators on Monday after an emergency cash injection from its Chinese partner, Geely, failed to materialise.
About 300 jobs at its Coventry plant, which has made the Hackney carriage for more than 100 years, are under threat.
The first some drivers heard about the recall was when 18 TX4 vehicles were stopped by Transport for London from taking part in an annual trip to Disneyland Paris for sick children.
A spokesman for the Johnson said: “The mayor’s team at Transport for London are in contact with Manganeze Bronze in order to establish the full implications of the company’s decision to go into administration for cab drivers in London.
“To help drivers affected by the recent recall of vehicles we have temporarily suspended the requirement to source taxis from inside London, although all taxis operating in the capital will continue to have to meet the 15-year age limit. We hope this decision will help affected drivers to obtain replacement vehicles as easily as possible and minimise any potential losses on their part.”
Over the next few weeks the
LTDA, LCDC and UNITE will be
out and about on the ranks and in
the eateries and shelters asking
drivers to sign the ‘London IS
Different’ petition and display
our stickers supporting the
The Law Commission review is
primarily concerned with outside
London but because of the depth
and detail involved there could be
implications for the trade in the
city if the commission does not
accept that London IS different
from the rest of the country
1.The word ‘TAXI’ must remain
exclusive. Private Hire vehicles
are not taxis and should not be
allowed to describe themselves
as such. The Private Hire
vehicles (London) act of 1998
prohibits private hire advertising
using the words “taxi”, “taxis”,
“cab” or “cabs”. The law
commission should not seek to
2.London private hire vehicles
must continue to be licensed in
London and to London
standards. We oppose any
proposals by the Law
Commission to lower these
3.London licence fees for taxis and
private hire vehicles must remain
in London to fund the policing of
touting and illegal plying for hire.
4.Our standards must be
maintained. We oppose any
proposals by the Law Commission
to introduce any type of part time
taxi licences in the capital.
5.We totally oppose any move
towards a one tier system.