London's Black Cab Maker Heads for Dead End (Video)

by
editors

Manganese Bronze, the maker of London's black cabs, is in administration. Part owned by Chinese automaker Geely, the company faces stiff competition from Mercedes Benz and a new taxi Nissan plans for next year.  

So, the work begins to keep London's famous black cabs on the road. The problem forced manufacturer Manganese Bronze to suspend sales altogether - leaving it on the brink of collapse...its iconic vehicle on a slippery slope.

Normally known for their high spirits, drivers in this cabbie-cafe aren't so optimistic. A new age limit means older vehicles are being pulled off the road at a rate of 15 every week. Without new models replacing them, drivers predict there'll be up to 1000 of them without a cab by Christmas.

London's black cabs have looked the same since the 1950s-An iconic shape that's stayed the same thanks to strict regulations. All black cabs are required by law to have a turning circle of just 25 feet to cope with London's narrow streets. That allows them to do u-turns in tight spots just like this. Until 2008 no one else could copy this, but that's now changed.

However, now, there is a new face in the market. A Mercedes Benz van converted into a 6 seater cab. It's the right colour, and has the orange light, but it's definitely a change from the traditional design. Mercedes-Benz already has a 38% share of the market and sales have jumped since its competitors problems.

So London will still have its taxis, just not as it knows it.

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