Like Big Ben and Trafalgar Square, London’s “black cabs” are a symbol of the English capital.
However, when the cab’s manufacturer, London Taxi Company, went bust in 2012, China’s Geely Automotive came to their rescue and purchased the struggling operation for $US20 million.
As part of Geely’s plan to broaden the iconic London cab’s sales prospects, the company is pushing for the adoption of the taxis in overseas markets, such as Australia and now Shanghai.
According to Sina Auto, the initial wave of 50 London taxis — clad in an eye atching gilded paint scheme — will hit the streets of Shanghai this month, operated by Qiang Sheng Taxis. Another 150 vehicles are set to enter service in the coming months. All 200 gold London taxis will be produced domestically in a facilities outside of Shanghai.
For more than two decades, Shanghai’s taxi fleet and its roads have been dominated by various iterations of Volkswagen’s Santana sedan.
Geely — also the parent company of Sweden’s Volvo — won’t be the first major automaker to take a shot at Volkswagen’s Shanghai taxi dominance. Mercedes-Benz and General Motors’ Buick division have both tried and failed to match the Santana’s performance and cost effectiveness.
The Shanghai London taxis — officially known as the Geely Englon TX4 London Taxi — will be powered by a 2.5-liter diesel engine. They will feature seating for 4 and will benefit from the cab’s tight, trademark 7-meter tuning radius, helping navigate Shanghai’s crowded streets.
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