April is here again and it appears we have been fooled again into thinking that the issues relating to our cabs were at last being resolved. Much has happened in the Vito Taxi world since the last time I wrote to you, but for us, the beleaguered owners, very little has changed.
Much Movement at the Top of KPM
Last summer Peter Da Costa stepped down as MD of KPM. Trevor Parker was appointed as the new CEO. For us it was like a breath of fresh air, he immediately implemented many changes at KPM that addressed many of the issues that we had with KPM. Among other changes, he sanctioned the agreement we had worked out between us for a financial package and upgrade of the RWS on all Vito euro4 cabs. This was to be the first part of a two stage upgrade. Many of our members had cabs repaired for their tests and are awaiting the Euro 4 hub and dogtooth upgrade.
Unfortunately, I have to inform you that Trevor Parker has left KPM and Jonathan Moritz from the Eco City Vehicles (KPM) board has been appointed acting CEO. We have no information as to why Trevor Parker has gone but it puts into question some of the agreements we had with him. We also have been informed that Roy McMasters has left the board of Penso One80. One80 are the suppliers of the actuators for the RWS which leaves us wondering what implications that my have on the supply of replacement for our taxis. We have arranged a meeting with ECV to clarify this changing scenario.
The Future of the Mercedes Benz Vito Taxi Cab
We recently met with Mercedes Benz and they assured their continued involvement in the London cab trade and we have requested a further meeting with them to discuss the Euro 5 cabs that are now out of or going out of warranty. When we purchased these cabs we were told by Mercedes Benz and KPM that the Euro 4 defects had been rectified on the Euro 5. There is definitely an improvement but some 5s still present the same symptoms as the 4s. In our opinion there are still the same inherent faults that have to be addressed and at an additional price of £6,000 for a new cab we should not have to put up with it.
Speculation is rife as to whether the Mercedes Vito taxi will survive. Mercedes will be facing serious competition later this year when the new Nissan Cab comes into service and with an £11,000 difference in the price tag, it makes the Vito look very overpriced.
We are told that the Mercedes Euro 6 will be a better cab and without the problems we have all endured for the last six years. We have recommended various changes with this cab such as, a manual door option, opening windows, fixed step, additional luggage space at rear end, digital radio etc. We have asked to be involved in developing the Euro 6 helping to make it the best cab on the road from the drivers point of view, and of course it must come at affordable price tag. Watch this space.
Sidestep & Sunroof
As you know, we have been pressing for a better solution to the ridiculous side step on our vehicle. We think we have the answer to this problem and hope to be presenting an alternative to TFL in the very near future. The sunroof model is going up to TFL in June, 6 months later than promised.
We have been a bit bogged down over the last few months trying to get our web site up and running. I am pleased to tell you that it will be going live this weekend. It will provide a platform for information relating to our cabs such as, recent and past issues, history of the club, maintenance advice and products, a classified section for goods and services. A members forum will be added in the next few weeks that will enable you to leave your recommendations, comments and requirements.
Bits & Bobs
The members parts club has been a big success thanks to Paul Cason’s hard work.
We are waiting for new membership cards and a window sticker to be delivered to us. These will be sent on to you as soon as I can physically get them into the envelope and post them.
If you have any questions or need anything please contact us.