taxi memoriesLTI

Cab Direct always offers a good choice of used LTI taxi models. These include TX1, TX2 and TX4 used LTI taxis, which come to you with the following benefits:

  • Fully reconditioned
  • Guaranteed to taxi test
  • Free delivery anywhere in the UK
  • Extensive 12 month taxi warranty

Call free on 0800 916 3021 or email for full details of our latest stock of used LTI taxi models.

In the section below we follow the story of the LTI taxi company from its creation in the mid 1980s to the present day.

LTI Taxi Company Formed

1982 saw LTI taxis’ predecessor, Carbodies, acquire full rights to their London black cab. ‘Austin taxis’ were re-badged as ‘Carbodies’. However the loss of Austin engines was to signal a recurring problem for the future of the LTI taxi, with Carbodies forced to quickly switch to using Range Rover engines for the ‘FX4R’.

Unsuited and under-tested, this proved unreliable and another commercial flop. Meanwhile work on a new CR6 model stalled over efforts to make it wheelchair accessible – something that has continued to haunt LTI taxi models to the present day.

The final step to Carbodies’ cabs becoming LTI taxis came in 1984 when Carbodies’ new owner, Manganese Bronze Holdings, bought over the main London taxi dealer, Mann & Overton and formed a new subsidiary company – the curiously titled London Taxis International (LTI).

Taxi Trade Frustration

The formative period of the Carbodies/LTI taxi organisation, from the early 1970s to the mid 1980s, was one of product stagnation, fuelled by lack of investment and encouraged by a virtual monopoly in the London taxi market, with no ‘normal’ manufacturer able or even interested to bastardise vehicles to meet the unique ‘turning circle’ rule.

Needless to say the taxi trade and representative organisations became ever more frustrated by becoming stuck in the product time warp.

The brief threat of the first Metrocab project in the mid 80s came to nothing, but may have been just enough of a fright to force Manganese Bronze into developing the new Fairway LTI taxi, launched in 1989. However lack of competition would again lead LTI taxis into complacency and under-investment.

LTI Taxi in the 1990s

LTI taxis’ efforts to use the turning circle to keep out competition continued to keep away the main motor manufacturers. The mid-90s saw short-lived efforts at competition from two under-funded would-be rivals, the Asquith (1994) and the re-launched, fibreglass Series 2 Metrocab.

Such was the taxi trade’s frustration with the LTI taxi by this point that the Metro may well have been a success had it been more reliable. Despite various mechanical issues, the Metrocab Series 3 captured a quarter of the London black cabs market by 1997.

LTI taxis’ response was the TX1. Looking like the long-awaited complete new development, this ‘bubble car’ was given the full PR treatment by LTI’s spin doctors. In fact, the LTI’s TX1 shared all the main mechanical components of the historic FX4, other than its Nissan engine.

LTI Taxi in the 2000s

Ironically this Japanese engine was to prove one of the best loved features of the LTI taxi – this despite LTI’s marketing of the great ‘British icon’.

However, in a repeat of Carbodies’ experience with the switch from Austin to Range Rover engines, LTI taxis, in 2003, almost ran out of time to replace the Nissan engine and quickly had to turn to Ford for their Transit van’s Duratorq engine.

Again, lack of suitability and development time led to legendary problems with the resulting LTI taxi model, now called TX2. So much so that cabbies today can be found eagerly seeking a ‘scrap’ TX1 LTI taxi in order to move its Nissan engine into a newer TX2.

Again the LTI taxi company was slow to react, before finally turning to Italy for a Motari van engine. Unfortunately this still leaves the LTI taxi driver with off-set foot pedals, in order to fit the engine around the cab chassis. The latest LTI taxi, the TX4, also suffered an alarming and potentially lethal spate of unexplained fires during the late 2000s.

The 2000s saw further problems for the LTI taxi as it lost market share hand over foot in provincial towns and cities to new competitors, principally the popular Peugeot E7 purpose-built taxi.

While the LTI taxi has so far managed to hang on to LTI’s beloved turning circle defence in London and Manchester, cabbies have progressively won the right to taxi choice in most major cities including Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Derby, Leicester, Nottingham and most recently Liverpool.

LTI Taxi in the 2010s

From the late 2000s the LTI taxi finally faced new competition in the capital, in the form of a Mercedes Vito taxi. Meanwhile the LTI taxi owners yielded the company’s controlling share interest to a Chinese manufacturer, Geely Automobiles.

More and more parts for an LTI taxi are now made in China, while employment at LTI’s Coventry factory is wound down. During 2010 the LTI taxi board asked Geely to buy-out the remaining LTI shares but the Chinese company has thus far declined.

In 2009 LTI announded that it was closing its network of independent taxi dealers. Then in November 2010 LTI taxis announced its re-branding as the ‘London Taxi Company’. The firm’s new logo incorporates red, white and blue colours, representing Britain, together with gold and silver, representing China.