Blog: Dave LeggettFiat Multipla finds taxi niche

Dave Leggett | 29 September 2003

The Fiat Multipla is one of those vehicles that will probably go down as a glorious failure. It hasn't exactly sold in spades, largely because of its radical and controversial styling. But all is not lost. Blueback, a new company aiming to transform London’s fragmented £850 million private hire vehicle (or minicab) market, has chosen Fiat Auto’s Multipla as its figurehead vehicle to launch the venture.

Blueback has signed a three-year agreement with Fiat Auto with an initial supply of up to 60 vehicles in 2003, 10 of which have already been delivered. All vehicles will be supplied on contract hire through Lombard Vehicle Management. In addition to highly recognisable vehicle branding, Blueback’s Multipla fleet will boast refrigerators stocked with cold drinks, newspapers and mobile phone chargers as well as a number of unique service features.

Blueback co-founder, PJ Darling, says: "The decision to select the Fiat Multipla was based on a number of factors, including its unique ability to take five passengers comfortably, which puts us on a par with black cabs; its unique and innovative design which differentiates ourselves from competitors, the spaciousness, flexibility and practicality of its interior, and its proven track record of operating as a taxi in Italy.

"Multipla also has strong residual values, together with low CO2 emissions and good fuel consumption figures, and the disabled vehicle conversion is best in class. Our drivers like the vehicle’s handling and ride, and the whole Fiat package represents excellent value for money."

Fiat would probably like a few more conventional private consumer sales, but the Blueback deal at least shows that there is a niche for a vehicle like the Multipla. And it's radical styling would be a plus in selling to firms like that.

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