London's "black cabs" get a Japanese makeover

The UK automotive sector boasts many examples of success stories for Japanese carmakers, which currently account for more than half of all cars produced in the UK. One Japanese company is now entering London’s iconic “black cab” market.

In August 2012, Nissan unveiled a prototype black cab. The company then gained feedback from the UK public. “We have worked with the London Mayor’s Office, the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association and disability groups in order to improve the new taxi”, Nissan says. The company designed a new taxi that reflected the appearance of the iconic black cab. The new taxi was developed at Nissan's Paddington design studio.

“We have ensured that the new taxi will be fit for 21st century London”, Nissan says. It fulfils the Mayor of London’s target that all new taxis must be zero emission capable from 2018. Nissan’s new taxi, to be produced from December 2014, will have a clean petrol engine and will be, followed by an electric version in 2015.

According to the company, all the other taxis in operation at the moment are diesel and contribute heavily to the air quality issues in the capital. The new engine is not only clean but also efficient, so it will be attractive for drivers as well as Londoners. It will also comfortably seat five adults and achieve the required 25ft (7.6m) turning-circle. Nissan hopes that the new taxi will be as loved and recognizable as its iconic forebears.

Photograph courtesy of Nissan

This news is not only for the capital because the Japanese carmakers are now deeply rooted in the UK regional economy. “The new taxi will be produced in Coventry”, the company says. Moreover, it has added around 2,000 people to the Sunderland workforce in the past two years. It anticipates production volumes of 500,000 in Sunderland for a third consecutive year, which will be another record for the UK car industry.




Embassy of Japan