The ups and downs of 2020 so far
We've weathered the economic storms of the last couple of years. And now coronavirus brings a new set of challenges to the industry. Here's our Managing Director, Rob Breuilly, with his overview of the current market.
How is 2020 treating The Taxi Shop?
It was a very good start but the whole trade is now affected by coronavirus. I think last year was tough for everyone in the trade, including us, but we started this year flying. There are a number of reasons for this, some are external factors beyond our control, but many are business improvements we have made, things that we are able to control.
Which vehicles are selling well this year?
We made a fantastic arrangement with Renault for the TRAFIC Sport LL30 L2 minibus. We’ve got both the 120 2L manuals and 170 2L autos, and we were amongst the first to have them, so there was a lot of interest, not least because of its excellent price. I drove one myself for a couple of weeks, I didn’t want to give it back! The TRAFIC has one of the cleanest diesel engines ever built for the trade, very low emissions and of course it is Euro 6.2. That’s why we chose the Renault.
What are your thoughts on how hybrids affect the market?
For the first time ever, we are able to offer very affordable and high performing hybrid minibus: the Ford Custom Mild Hybrid. It’s self-charging, there’s no need to plug in, and it gives drivers just that bit of extra mileage with surprising power even when there's 9 on board.
What about the business of converting vehicles?
We’ve been doing it for six months now. Brilliant feedback from customers. The vehicle inspector at the test centre told us ours were amongst the best conversions they had ever seen, not bad! We’re doing hackney and wheelchair access conversions every day, I’ve locked the workshop so the boys can’t escape!
How does the future look?
Despite the difficult conditions, we are very upbeat. Once we get past this health crisis I feel like the trade will liven up a bit. There's been a couple of years in the doldrums but people will always need to get from A to B in comfort. There are some really good, affordable vehicles to be had, and our finance partners are doing amazing things helping hard-to-reach drivers.
I have finally got my dream team here at The Taxi Shop, people who are passionate about the business, who are skilled and ambitious. We’ve got new systems in place to deliver consistently. For example, I am very proud of our ISO 9001 quality standard certification. We maintain a positive attitude.