Despite the impending economic doom of Brexit, London Taxis are pressing ahead with a major new factory to produce their zero-emissions cab.
It’s gratifying that the factory, opened the other day, is in Coventry, a city with a long tradition of motor car production. It was never very pleasant to see how the sites of Triumph, Peugeot and Humber were transformed into shopping centres, piles of rubble and housing estates respectively.You can see in the image below how London Taxis, owned by Geely, have resolved the tricky part where the brightwork goes from the side, around the a-pillar and to the header rail. They also seem to have toned down the brightwork.
Not unsurprisingly, the diesel-powered TX4 is going out of production. The new vehicle is a variation on the same theme. The stongest graphical difference is the treatment of the lamps. The new version has more conventional lamps, with the aperture bounded by the wing and the bonnet whereas the TX4 has a more costly cut-out for the round lamp.
While the use of brightwork is to be commended, I might suggest that the decision to have the material extend to the front screen rather than garnish the a-pillar is a tad disconcerting. The same goes for the head-lamps – the new solution hints very slightly of expediency. The black cab is more about continuity than change and I think merely redesigning it to improve production or performance would have been more than enough. The market is tantamount to a captive one and customers are either indifferent to the cab’s appearance or relishing a chance to experience a British icon.