Almost nothing truly British are sacred nowadays. If you entered a restaurant in the UK you may encounter a Polish immigrant baking those scones and macaroons. If you went to Harrods you’d know that some rich Middle Eastern chap owns it. If you wanted a pair of British brogues from Church’s (like the ones Pierce Brosnan used in all his James Bond movies) you then find out that Prada owns the brand.
When it came to cars, Jaguar is owned by TATA of India, Aston Martin by another bunch of Middle Eastern businessmen, Lotus by Malaysians, Bentley by some Germans and ol’ Rolls Royce by another set of Germans. Of course that leaves us with all those small garden shed-like manufacturers like Morgan, Westfield and Caterham. We’re left with all these small boutique manufacturers as even the famous London taxis are now victim to globalization and cost.
Geely, China’s largest manufacturer of passenger cars is in cahoots with London Taxi International (LTI) who are the manufacturer of the current version of the London taxi the venerable TX series of cabs; the latest being the TX4. According to what I read, Geely and LTI (a small part in the actual picture) intends to produce a new globalized version of the London Taxi so that it can sell a London taxi everywhere around the world. Why they are doing so is also quite confusing as they are already producing their version of the TX4 for use in China.
The Geely TXN will be sold under the Englon brand, which is also the brand that the Chinese TX4 is using. Yes, Englon. This is exactly how a whole lot of people in China pronounce the word ‘England’
Aside from what I am writing in the paragraphs below, I have to ask as to where else does Geely intend to sell London black taxis to aside from China? I suppose Singapore may choose this new taxi if the package is right. Or maybe some city in Australia or America where they’d jump at the chance of not using their extremely spacious Fords and GM based yellow cabs, not.
Geely is calling the new cab the TXN, Geely’s new design will be made at the same factory in Coventry and will be sold worldwide. While it will have the same round headlights and an upright front grill, the folding seats of the original TX series will disappear from the new taxi. The driver will be surrounded by a Perspex shield with space for one passenger in the front instead of the usual divider which only makes the rear seats usable for carrying passengers..
Geely has stated that the TXN maintains the traditional cab’s DNA with its traditional styling, high roof (to fit gentlemen and ladies who wear hats) and the very tight turning circle but adds modern safely features like airbags, ABS and that extra passenger seat upfront. According to Geely, the current TX4, though a symbol of London was outdated and they predicted that customers would prefer the TXN over it.
There are no plans to stop the production of the TX4 and both taxis will be produced side by side. It will be offered to London Taxi operators and soon we may see a lot of them around London right beside the TX4. How long before one or the other is phased out? Usually till one makes so much more profit over the other. That is usually the case isn’t it?
- the current TX4 London taxi
Anyway, I think I prefer sitting in a TX4 over this new ‘Englon’. Reason being that the TX4 has a larger greenhouse area and it looks more traditional, like what a London taxi should be. Both are diesel, so how refined can either be as it is likely that both will have the customary sound proofing and modern refinements. The TX4 can’t be that bad as it was only launched in 2007 and 2007 isn’t two hundred years ago in car development terms.
So we now have a London taxi that isn’t designed in England, but made in England, is called Englon, and could be driven by an Englishman of Indian descent. Globalization and the incredible Chinese economy is laying claim to London via its black taxis. So whatever British product you wish to buy that is still owned by an actual British person or persons, you’d better go buy them now. There may not be any left within the next few decades.
And if you intend to take a ride in a traditional London taxi, do so as soon as you can as soon, Englon will rule the roads of London. And Englon is as English as you and I.