To those of us living on the other side of the pond, London triggers a number of defining images (we at Nissan of Lake Charles often find ourselves thinking of foggy
cobblestone streets, but we may have also read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde one too many times). One of the more iconic aspects of the city is its public transportation: from the London Underground and double-decker busses all the way down to police call boxes that are much more spacious on the inside. Nissan has announced that London’s cabs will be getting a new look soon with the reveal of their Taxi for London. These slick black cabs are based upon the automaker’s NV200 compact-van platform, which has already taken its place as the Taxi of Tomorrow in New York.
Wall Street Journal’s Marietta Cauchi took to the streets of London (where, contrary to what Morrisey asserts, there seems to be absolutely no panic). What she did find was a number of grizzled old cabbies who, despite the competition presented by Nissan’s Taxi for London, seemed impressed with the new rival’s looks.
One driver says, “The public generally like the iconic shape of the current taxi that I’m using. I think the drivers, long term, if they had a vehicle that was cheaper to run…that’d be a good thing for the taxi drivers.”
Another, who suspiciously and awesomely resembles Ernest Borgnine’s Cabbie from Escape from New York, says, “Well, it looks very smart from the outside. It’s whether, of course, it’s practical on the inside and functional regarding passengers, wheelchair accessibility and, most importantly, has the driver got all the facilities in the front to make his long working day comfortable?”
The £30,000 ($45,291 USD) Taxi for London is remodeled to more closely resemble the iconic London cab shape, featuring a remodeled grille, LED lighting, and new front bumper panels; the Taxi for London also conforms to London’s licensing rules while managing to run more cleanly (and at less cost) than standard cabs.
“Having already overcome the unique technical challenges presented by the development of a new Hackney Carriage for London ahead of our launch of the vehicle in August 2012, we turned our attention to making the vehicle look the part,” Darryl Scriven, Design Excellence Manager at Nissan Design Europe said in the automaker’s official press release. “The Mayor’s office and taxi drivers were very keen that we maintain the character of the Hackney Carriage, making it something that people in the city can be proud of.”
“The main challenges were concerned with making sure customers can easily recognise it as a taxi. Being in London, we were able to go out and talk to cabbies about what was important to them as well as look at the vehicle from a customer’s viewpoint. It’s unusual for us to be able to work on something as bespoke as this, specifically for one location in the world and we are very proud to have been asked to do so.”