World launch of the new british built TX4 taxi

World launch of the new british built TX4 taxi  
Filed under:
on 10/18/2006

Today, 18 October 2006, LTI Vehicles is launching their new purpose built TX4 range of London style taxis. The new TX4 is so named as a tribute to LTIs first purpose built Hackney Carriage, the FX4, launched in 1959, and also the fact that the new vehicle has a Euro IV compliant 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine. The new TX4 range of taxis replace the TXII models introduced in 2002.

The new TX4 is an evolution of past generations of LTIs iconic London style black cabs gained over almost 60 years of experience. Just as its predecessors, the new TX4 is distinctively styled, it cannot be mistaken by users as anything other than a purpose built taxi and it cannot be confused with mass produced Private Hire Vehicles. The new vehicle has a wealth of advancements, all tried and tested, and then tested again, making it the best and most advanced taxi in the world.

Peter Shillcock, Managing Director of LTI Vehicles said today, "We have invested three years of development and over £5 million in bringing the TX4 to market. We are committed to continually improving our taxis and the development of the TX4 has undergone more component and road testing than anything we have ever built. Over one million kilometres of testing, equivalent to 30 times around the world, has taken place. This includes 5,000 kilometres of chassis and suspension durability testing over Pave cobbled road surfaces. The TX4 has been tested in real-life extreme hot and cold climates and simulated conditions using the wind tunnel at MIRA."

He added, "We believe without question the TX4 is quite simply the best purpose built taxi ever made and it will set the standard for years to come. The TX4 is without doubt a milestone not only for LTI Vehicles but the whole taxi industry.

No other taxi is as robust or renowned as the TX series and now LTI have made it even better. The new TX4 has a cleaner, more efficient Euro IV compliant diesel engine from VM Motori, new transmissions, the addition of anti-lock braking, a smooth and more comfortable ride, improved user friendly interior specification, equipment and facilities for the able and disabled, all complimented by a redesigned, stylish exterior which retains the iconic British built taxi appearance. Of course, it still has the famous 25 feet turning circle required by the Public Carriage Office. The legend lives on.

The bigger picture

It is not possible to outline the latest credentials of the new TX4 British built taxi being launched today without first understanding a little about the long heritage and history of the brand and this British company.

The British built Hackney Carriage, or London style taxi, manufactured by LTI Vehicles from Coventry is the most recognisable passenger car in the world, there is no other vehicle like this iconic taxi. It is designed and built to meet the rigorous demands and regulations set by the UK’s Public Carriage Office for purpose built taxis.

It is not unusual for a Hackney Carriage to cover over 1,000,000 miles in a 10 year period so in addition to the need for them to be distinctive and easily recognised as a Hackney Carriage, they have to be durable, reliable and fit for purpose. A design and build process of evolution rather than revolution has given us the London style taxi known all around the world today.

Where did it all start?

Carbodies Ltd, which became London Taxis International in 1984, was established in 1919 in Coventry as a coach-building operation. The company grew and moved to the current LTI Vehicles site in Holyhead Road in Coventry in 1928. In 1948 the company built its first taxi, the FX3, based on an Austin vehicle and since that time over 100,000 taxis have been built.

In 1959 the company produced its own first purpose built taxi – the FX4. In 1973 Carbodies was bought by Manganese Bronze Holdings plc and in 1984 they formed London Taxis International also known as LTI Vehicles, to manufacture and sell taxis.

British to the core

Today, LTI Vehicles is the largest remaining British owned passenger car manufacturer in the UK, employing over 400 people.

As the rules and regulations governing the requirements for purpose built taxis have changed over the years so have the LTI models. The outgoing model is the TXII which is sold of course in London, where purpose built taxis are exclusively required and it is a common sight in other cities and towns throughout Great Britain. The TXII is also exported to 35 different countries around the world including USA, China, Spain, Pakistan, South Africa and Japan. No wonder the company slogan for their taxis is "Hailed the world over."

Earlier this month Manganese Bronze Holdings plc, the parent company of LTI Vehicles, announced it had signed a Heads of Terms agreement with Chinese car manufacturer Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd. (Geely) to establish a £53 million joint venture company to produce the iconic London black taxi in Shanghai for the Chinese market. From mid 2008 the joint company will produce 20,000 London taxis for sale in China and there is the possibility of supplying some Chinese sourced components to LTIs UK manufacturing headquarters in Coventry.

The new TX4 – an evolution

The TX4 builds on the heritage and reliability of all the London style taxis produced by LTI Vehicles. More than ever, the TX4 represents instant recognisability as a taxi, durability and reliability, safety, comfort and efficiency.

The TX4 has an entirely redesigned front end that hints back at a bygone era – retro styling with a modern touch. At the front are a totally new bonnet and a stylish new mesh radiator grille. The rear of the vehicle has also been updated with new light clusters, a high rear brake light and improved parcel shelf and plinth.

The TX4 still retains the strong and durable purpose built chassis to which the bodyshell is attached. The new coil spring rear suspension and revised front suspension systems introduced to the outgoing TXII models at the end of 2005 to improve passenger and driver comfort and handling are also used for the new TX4. This system, like the rest of the LTI taxis, was designed to cope with the rigours of poor roads over a long lifespan. In particular the increased use of traffic calming measures such as ‘sleeping policeman’ that cause structural damage to conventional vehicles as well as providing an uncomfortable ride for passengers and drivers alike. The all important 25 feet turning circle is retained in compliance with the Public Carriage Office requirements for Hackney Carriages. Industry figures show there are 32,000 purpose built taxis using their 25 feet turning circle to make six U-turns an hour, every day of every week.

New Euro IV engine

Taxis are the workhorses of our streets. That is why LTI Vehicles, together with VM Motori, the Italian engine producer, (51% owned by the Penske Corporation and 49% by DaimlerChrysler), have developed their VM R425 DOHC four-cylinder, 2.5-litre, toothed belt driven double overhead camshafts, common rail, Euro IV compliant turbodiesel engine with twin balancer shafts, especially for the TX4. The engine mapping has been configured to supply maximum torque at low speeds for quick acceleration and improved flexibility across a wide power band for optimum performance in traffic and on the open road, all with the lowest possible emissions and fuel consumption. This engine is cleaner and quieter than the previous power units used with no loss in power or performance. The engine can also use 5% Bio-Diesel mix without modification.

Matthew Cheyne, Sales and Marketing Director for LTI Vehicles said, "Some people will want to know why we have moved away from using a Ford sourced diesel engine as we did with the TXII taxi. There are several reasons. Seventy per of our customers specify and automatic transmission and the new VM engine comes complete with such a unit which is specifically compatible for use with their latest Euro IV engine. The Italian VM company produce engines for markets and manufacturers around the world, and since our taxis are now sold to world markets we needed to change to a world engine.

He added, "Another reason is the fact that a Ford unit was not suitable for fitment to our new TX4 left hand drive models, so again this meant a change of engine supplier."

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