The Black Cab or London taxi is an icon, not only in the UK but also in the US and Singapore where some ploy the city streets. They are the highlights of so many travel photos and tourists simply love them wherever they find them. Apart from the major London attractions, these taxis were probably the most photographed during the 2012 Olympics, starring alongside the Spice Girls at the closing ceremony of the games. Their shape is unique, spacious on the inside and very wheel-chair friendly.
This unofficial symbol of the UK may not live to see many more sunrises as Manganese Bronze, the manufacturer and owner of the London Taxi Company, went into administration. The black cab is already ridden with problems:
1) It is expensive for cabbies to own and rent at GBP35,000 for a car and GBP220 a week.
2) The taxi has safety issues with parts manufactured in China including its steering which resulted in a recall of 400 cars.
3) It hasn't been redesigned since 1956.
4) The company has accounting discrepancies.
5) Stiff competition from more fuel efficient and lower rental vehicles like the 6-seater Mercedes Vito and Nissan's introduction of its own black model in 2014.
Without the cash injection from one of its Chinese automotive company shareholder, Geely, much hope now rest on its residual value as a global icon with worldwide recognition to remain on the roads. There are still some 20,000 cabs plying the streets of London but the future of the world-famous London cab remains black for now.
What are your thoughts on the future of London's Black Cabs?