PDA

View Full Version : Future of taxi cabs?


Valentine One Radar Detector

Eric
03-19-2008, 07:44 AM
Hasn't got the character of a Checker... but then, what does?


Ford, the leading provider of taxis in North America, is offering a fresh take on taxis at the New York International Auto Show.

?Taxis are an important part of the urban landscape, and the Transit Connect Taxi concept represents a potential game-changer, given its small footprint, comfortable, spacious interior, fuel-efficient engine and affordability,? said Mark Fields, president of The Americas. ?We?re interested to see how people react.?

Ford has been a leader in the taxi business for decades. The Ford Crown Victoria is the leader in the taxi market in cities throughout the U.S.

Ford also was the first manufacturer to introduce gas-electric hybrid-powered taxis into North American fleets with the launch of the Ford Escape Hybrid in San Francisco and New York City in early 2005. Today, New York?s Escape hybrid fleet has grown to more than 800, including the original 18 that joined the fleet in 2005, still running with the original nickel-metal hydride batteries intact.

The Transit Connect Taxi concept offers a new perspective on how to move people and their gear through congested city streets ? more cleanly, efficiently and with new technology that could revolutionize the taxi industry.

Built on a dedicated, commercial vehicle platform and tested to Ford?s toughest truck standards, Transit Connect is specially made to meet the extreme demands of taxi service.

With its standard, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission, Transit Connect delivers estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg in the city ? a more than 30 percent improvement in fuel economy and nearly 90 percent lower tailpipe emissions than many of today?s traditional taxis.

A Small Footprint with Big Potential
Transit Connect blends well into cityscapes. Its smart, vertical stacked design is able to accommodate three rear-cab passengers and 75 cu. ft. of parcels ? in part because it emulates the city skyline that surrounds it.

?When cities ran out of horizontal space at the turn of the 20th century, architects started to build upward,? said Peter Horbury, executive director of Design, The Americas. ?The Transit Connect Taxi concept brings that same idea to the streets, changing the shape of the space, making it taller with a smaller and narrow footprint.?

In addition to its new shape, the Transit Connect Taxi concept?s paint scheme and expressive graphic treatment lend it unique personality.

Designers didn?t abandon iconic yellow paint ? but they did change the formula to a more modern hue that contrasts with deep gray, molded-in-color fender flares as well as front and rear fascias that serve dual duty as impact-resistant bumpers.

Most noticeable up top is a futuristic interpretation of the yellow ?taxi bubble.? The space-age looking flat-panel unit, mounted horizontally above the Taxi concept?s roof, is lit on all four sides ? green if the cab is available, orange if it?s occupied.

Disco Man
03-23-2008, 01:50 AM
I guess if your read between the lines, Ford is about to drop the popular Crown Victoria. They can do so, but they'll lose all their police car and taxi car business. Chrysler will end up taking all the police business with the Charger (if Ford pulls the plug on the CV), and somebody else will take the taxi business. One thing's for sure in this day in age with fat overweight Americans there's no way the're going to fit in Ford's "Transit Connect Taxi".

Eric
03-23-2008, 07:29 AM
I guess if your read between the lines, Ford is about to drop the popular Crown Victoria. They can do so, but they'll lose all their police car and taxi car business. Chrysler will end up taking all the police business with the Charger (if Ford pulls the plug on the CV), and somebody else will take the taxi business. One thing's for sure in this day in age with fat overweight Americans there's no way the're going to fit in Ford's "Transit Connect Taxi".




Agreed.

And blame 35 mpg CAFE.

The big Vic is a liability in that regard.

grouch
03-23-2008, 08:45 AM
I guess if your read between the lines, Ford is about to drop the popular Crown Victoria. They can do so, but they'll lose all their police car and taxi car business. Chrysler will end up taking all the police business with the Charger (if Ford pulls the plug on the CV), and somebody else will take the taxi business. One thing's for sure in this day in age with fat overweight Americans there's no way the're going to fit in Ford's "Transit Connect Taxi".





The local cab company has already started going with mini-vans. The Dodge Grand Caravan seems to be their favorite. Big doors like the old Checkers, enough power to haul people, easy to find parts and keep it running and good visibility for the driver. I like the Crown Victorias and figure Ford will get the same rude awakening that GM did when they dropped the full sized cars like the Caprice. It was a permanent change for a short term profit. The average prfit GM made then on a Suburban was $6000. Now that the sellers market has evaporated, it's biting them on the bottom. I see a lot of really, really good deals on large SUVs and the like and they are still sitting on the lots.

Eric
03-23-2008, 08:54 AM
I guess if your read between the lines, Ford is about to drop the popular Crown Victoria. They can do so, but they'll lose all their police car and taxi car business. Chrysler will end up taking all the police business with the Charger (if Ford pulls the plug on the CV), and somebody else will take the taxi business. One thing's for sure in this day in age with fat overweight Americans there's no way the're going to fit in Ford's "Transit Connect Taxi".





The local cab company has already started going with mini-vans. The Dodge Grand Caravan seems to be their favorite. Big doors like the old Checkers, enough power to haul people, easy to find parts and keep it running and good visibility for the driver. I like the Crown Victorias and figure Ford will get the same rude awakening that GM did when they dropped the full sized cars like the Caprice. It was a permanent change for a short term profit. The average prfit GM made then on a Suburban was $6000. Now that the sellers market has evaporated, it's biting them on the bottom. I see a lot of really, really good deals on large SUVs and the like and they are still sitting on the lots.


I'd be leery about the long-term durability of any FWD vehicle in that type of service.

The Vic - with its rugged frame and solid axle rear - can soak up potholes, jump a curb without breaking something real expensive, etc...

Disco Man
03-23-2008, 12:05 PM
A few years back I was taking a taxi (a Crown Vic), and talking to the driver who was from an immigrant from the middle east. He told me he had logged many hours behind the wheel of the Crown Vic over the years and it was by far his favorite car to drive. He said they take a lot of punishment and also run faithfully. He said he liked the roomness and the comfortible ride. He mentioned how he bought a new family car, a Camry only because his wife wanted one (he said he wanted to buy a Crown Vic). When I asked if Ford stopped making them how he woud feel. He said very said, and that he hoped that day would never come.

As for mini-vans they are not much fun to get in and out of for people over 6' tall. The back area of a mini-van was made for kids, only full-size vans were made for adults, this is why Hotels and shuttle services use full-size vans. I have taken minivan taxis and I have to bend my head way down to enter (I am 6'3" tall) and then continue to walk in the van in this croutched position to my seat (its not very fun). To me it is easy to get into the back of a Crown Vic, it's my preferred Taxi. The Impala is way too cramped in the back for my tastes along with every other type of taxi.

misterdecibel
03-23-2008, 05:38 PM
Unless something has changed, Ford have claimed that they are committed to the Crown Vic for a number of years yet.

Are you sure the Ford Transit press release was for the USA? "Transit" is the name they use for their Sprinter-sized van in Europe.

grouch
03-24-2008, 12:48 AM
Unless something has changed, Ford have claimed that they are committed to the Crown Vic for a number of years yet.

Are you sure the Ford Transit press release was for the USA? "Transit" is the name they use for their Sprinter-sized van in Europe.



I tried going to Fords web site to spec out a car. The Town Car and Grand Marquis are still there but the Crown Victoria was absent.

Eric
03-24-2008, 07:42 AM
Unless something has changed, Ford have claimed that they are committed to the Crown Vic for a number of years yet.

Are you sure the Ford Transit press release was for the USA? "Transit" is the name they use for their Sprinter-sized van in Europe.


Yes. The "reveal" was in NYC....

Disco Man
03-24-2008, 06:11 PM
The Crown Vic along with the Grand Marquis are on their way out. Ford will stop selling them after this year to consumers. The Crown Vic will last another year or two as Ford did promise to make them until 2010 for Police and Taxi use. After that, it looks as if it's anyone's guess what will replace them. My guess is that it will be a much smaller car.

Here's an article that sheds a little light on this:

http://www.autoblog.com/2007/11/01/crown-vic-prepares-to-give-up-its-scepter/

Dave Brand
03-25-2008, 01:14 PM
Are you sure the Ford Transit press release was for the USA? "Transit" is the name they use for their Sprinter-sized van in Europe.


The Transit Connect is a smaller vehicle than the Transit, in effect a replacement for the old Escort van.