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Second-hand taxi market hit hard by uncertainty created by EV and licensing authorities

With prices on pre-owned cabs being “fluid” to say the least it has turned out to be the hardest six months ever known for traders and dealers in the taxi business.

Older cabs have not been too badly affected price wise, but their value is now based only on how many plates the cab has left in London. This is because various licensing authorities around the country will now only license Euro VI cabs for the first time, effectively locking these older cabs into the London only market.

The values hardest hit have been the newer TX4s and Vitos, where there has been a significant downward adjustment to reflect the difference between a diesel and the new technology, both in running costs and desirability. This situation can only worsen as the waiting list for a TXe continues to grow. The hard bit is setting the right part exchange price. There are a few dealers sitting on stock they paid too much for and can’t sell. More worryingly for them, the price on some of their stock is still in free fall.

Fortunately, the majority of drivers running newer cabs have them on a PCP deal with a guaranteed Residual Value (RV), this means they can walk away from the deal. Looking at some of the guaranteed RVs, that’s exactly what the majority will do. This will leave the headache for the dealers who in some cases won’t be able to sell the cabs on the open market for any more than the agreed RV, and in a few cases, less than that. The question everyone wants answered is “when will it all `settle down so we can get back to a sense of normality?” That’s the hard one, but I do think we are beginning to reach the bottom. As long as TfL doesn’t interfere by altering age limits, or doing anything else silly, a bit of confidence will start to return. This will be led by the drivers of older cabs recognising that there are some great bargains out there on the price of two and three-year-old cabs, and they choose to upgrade to the last of the Euro VI diesels ,which are still a safe bet and thus cheap. I certainly hope so, as the current price uncertainty is bad for everyone. On a more positive note, the latest on the Dynamo Nissan electric cab is that it will be launched before the end of the year. The first deliveries for existing pre-orders are due to arrive with drivers in early 2019. The delays have all been caused by Nissan underestimating the success and popularity of its new long range 40kw battery, which is used in the latest Leaf, where demand worldwide has outstripped supply. Nissan prioritised the car market and held back supplies of the battery to its commercial division, which makes the NV200 that the new cab is based on, hence the delays. The cab is expected to have a realistic working range of 130-150 miles in town use and is rumoured to be priced at around £46,000 after the OLEV and City Hall grants. Being pure EV it will not be for everyone, but at around £10-12,000 less than the TXe and with annual servicing fixed at around £250, and a range of finance deals backed by Nissan, it will appeal to many. 

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