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Erratic new taxi sales in London provides rollercoaster ride for industry

Image credit: DALL.E (AI Generated)

In the world of London taxi fleets, unpredictability seems to be the only constant. A leading fleet expert recently painted a perplexing picture of the new taxi market fluctuations over the past six months.

"A few months back, cab sales were booming," he noted. This period saw huge demand for taxis, driven by a seasonal surge in business in the lead up to Christmas.

However, the landscape has shifted over the last six months and the data tells a story of its own. January 2024 saw 87 licensed black cabs sold, marking a steady start to the year. February dropped to 46, reflecting a seasonal slump. March experienced a spike with 234 sales, driven by the change in plates, which often sees an increase in purchases as buyers seek the latest registrations. April followed with a modest recovery of 67 sales, but May saw a significant dip to just 57.

This rollercoaster nature of cab sales highlights the unpredictable dynamics of the market, leaving industry experts scratching their heads. Several factors could be influencing these erratic trends. Economic uncertainties and more rental taxi availability, all play a part in this complex equation.

The recent boom in business for cab operators seems to contradict the slow sales figures. Many taxi drivers are said to be busier than ever, a fact that would typically lead to increased fleet purchases to meet the demand of more cabbies working even on a part-time basis.

Yet, the market is not responding in the expected manner. Some suggest that potential buyers are hesitant, awaiting further stability before making significant investments. Others believe that the current economic climate, marked by inflation and high interest rates, is causing caution among potential new cab buyers.

The shift towards greener alternatives and the push for electric vehicles might also be contributing to this unpredictable market. The purchase cost of electric taxis are still significant considerations for many cabbies, leading to a slower uptake despite the benefits of future lower running costs and environmental impact.

The London taxi fleet expert said in TAXI Newspaper: “I know I have said it before, but this is a funny old game. A few months back cab sales were booming, you couldn’t rent a cab anywhere and the doom and gloom merchants moaning was off the scale.

“Fast forward six months, even the most ardent doom and gloomers are reporting having never been busier, yet cab sales are slow. Just 57 licensed taxis were sold in May, and the fleets have cabs against the wall! It often makes no sense, and I have given up trying to understand it.”


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