Nissan updates its new London taxi design
to make it "easier to recognise"

| 16 comments
 

News: car brand Nissan has unveiled a revised design for its new London taxi to replace the city's famous black cabs, having altered the look of the vehicle in an attempt "to better reflect the iconic nature of the traditional black cab" (+ slideshow).

Nissan updates its new London taxi design to make it easier to recognise

The Nissan NV200 London Taxi will replace the UK capital's iconic TX4 taxis from December 2014 and the Japanese firm unveiled the redesign this morning at the firm's European design centre in Paddington, west London.

Nissan updates its new London taxi design to make it easier to recognise

The vehicle is based on a van but has been remodelled since its launch in August 2012, when it was criticised for being simply a black version of the firm's taxis in New York, Barcelona and Tokyo.

Nissan updates its new London taxi design to make it easier to recognise

"In response to feedback from the London Mayor's office, Transport for London and other key organisations which have put their backing behind the new taxi, Nissan has redesigned the vehicle to better reflect the iconic nature of the traditional black cab," the company said.

Nissan updates its new London taxi design to make it easier to recognise

The new bespoke design for London features round headlamps, a remodelled grille and new front bumper panels. The update also ditches the previous diesel engine for a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an automatic gearbox, available from December 2014, and a zero-emissions electric version will be available in 2015.

Nissan updates its new London taxi design to make it easier to recognise

"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," said Nissan's design excellence manager Darryl Scriven. "The main challenges were concerned with making sure customers can easily recognise it as a taxi."

Nissan updates its new London taxi design to make it easier to recognise

"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," he added.

Nissan updates its new London taxi design to make it easier to recognise

The NV200 seats five passengers including two flip-down seats facing the rear, access for wheelchairs and sliding doors for easy access in narrow spaces, and it adheres to Transport for London regulations requiring a 7.6-metre turning circle. The vehicles will be produced in Barcelona and assembled in London.

Nissan updates its new London taxi design to make it easier to recognise

The new Nissan launch comes less than a year after Chinese brand Geely bought the makers of the traditional TX4 taxis Manganese Bronze, which still designs taxis using a similar basic structure to the first black cab from 1948, in a deal worth £11 million. The takeover followed the Coventry-based company going into administration in 2012.

Nissan updates its new London taxi design to make it easier to recognise

There are currently around 20,000 black cabs - or hackney carriages - on the streets of London, but many will have to be retired as strict new emissions rules come into force.

  • Alun

    Oh dear, how sad. The TX4 is a stinky noisy post-modern dog, but this new front end… It was better before, at least it looked like what it was.

  • Romain_M

    Why does this remind me this particular image? http://beyondmediaonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/hannibal.jpg

  • Hr

    “To better reflect the iconic nature of the traditional black cab” – so they have to write TAXI on the side in case anyone thinks it’s a private ambulance.

  • Mr J

    Hideous. As for the chrome grille, Nissan’s ‘design excellence’ manager might wish to replace it with an iconic drawbridge. He could also mount the taxi sign on rooftop crenellations for added visibility.

  • Dylan

    Surely if this is about making the cabs more efficient and thereby ‘saving the environment’ they could have got the old ones, scooped out the gubbins and replaced it with efficient systems, thus recycling and preserving the classic taxi shape for the future Anyway, what do I know? It probably wouldn’t make Nissan as much money.

  • Marcel

    This can’t be serious, and if it isn’t serious it still doesn’t make sense. Horrible sight this thing!

  • Donatas Pabrėža

    “This is clearly an insult to the British people!” railed one correspondent. “We will not stand for this!” ranted another.

    No need to comment, most of outrage can be found here: http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/cor-blimey-its-londons-new-black-cab-2013-01-06

  • Bob Trump

    Fugly.

  • Outcast Editions

    Disappointing doesn’t even begin to cover it. What is the Mayor’s office doing commissioning this?

  • Lee

    Heatherwick’s new bus for London was a step forward. This is two steps back.

    • Herrmannn

      I just wanted to write that Heatherwick’s bus is the really ugly thing when I read your comment. But of course it must be nice because it is made by Brits. And this taxi by some Japanese guys. I smell racism.

  • Immortal

    Or, y’know, Kenneth Grange, who re-designed the Hackney Carriage in the mid-90s. Whatever one’s opinion of it (see the post-modern comment above) it is a brilliant modern re-interpretation of the original London cab. Supremely functional and still iconic. Not sure why they can’t just make hybrid/electric versions of it.

  • rogue

    It seems simplifying sarcasm is hard to understand.
    The average “I bash everything that is not at least 50 years old and British” guy doesn’t know that. He only reads Nissan and then automatically gets all defensive about British products.

  • D.Carlier

    What happened to style, it now looks like a criminal transporter. It’s not attractive.

  • izobelo

    Awful!

  • Victorian man

    Things only get worse. Here is the proof.