Jim Armitage: Turning traditional black cabs 'bland' is taking its toll
Outlook As property developers turn acres of London into characterless dead-zones of glass and steel equally fitting for Arizona or Beijing, we should cheer the travails of Eco City Vehicles. This is the company whose success is tied to the demise of that pleasing London landmark, the traditional black cab.
Eco City's Mercedes Vito cars may still be black and driven by cockney cabbies with the Knowledge. But they're really just glorified people carriers, with the bland international ubiquity of a Starbucks latte. Now Eco City is struggling because of stiff competition, having sold 543 units (the kindest noun for them) last year compared with 561 in 2012. Its share price fell 10 per cent yesterday.
Sadly, though, its plight isn't down to a resurgence of the classic model, known in the trade as the LTI and made by the now Chinese-owned Manganese Bronze. It's the prospect of new rival offerings on the rank from Nissan and Metrocab that's causing sales to stall. The Metrocab is a charm-stripped, boxy eco-copy of the LTI, while Nissan's effort looks like a Micra in a fatsuit. Not a great prospect for London.
These dulling-down makeovers in the capital are mystifying. Ask the average Londoner or visitor to the city if they prefer the old winding streets of Covent Garden or Land Securities' new skyscrapers in Victoria and they'll plump for Covent Garden every time. The same, I'm sure, goes for the traditional taxis. Nobody voted for bland cabs on bland streets, but we seem to get them anyway.
- 1 Russell Brand accuses FOX News anchor Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 5 'Hello mum, this is going to be hard for you to read ...'
Sally Farmiloe dead: Howards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, dies aged 60
Russell Brand accuses FOX News anchor Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness – including don’t try to convert other people
Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
Justin Bieber posts Instagram photo of Orlando Bloom crying after Ibiza fight 'over Miranda Kerr'
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £24000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider of web based m...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...
Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...
£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...