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Mumbaikars set to bid adieu to the iconic fiat taxi

Discussion in 'Fiat Global News' started by Herbie, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Herbie

    Herbie Regolare

    Grande Punto 1.4
    NOTE :
    Though I hate the work ethics of majority (if not all) of taxi-wallas in Mumbai, I can't help but feel nostalgic about one of the premier brands of "passenger cars" our generation had a brush with during our formative years.
    As the last standing bastion finally makes an eventual exit and our city history books get a few more pages added......I thought this is "must have/should have" important event documentation on our website.

    Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 11.16.28 AM.jpg

    Mumbaikars set to bid adieu to the iconic fiat taxi

    Jun 17, 2013, 20:42PM IST

    Mumbai :
    The Fiat taxis - as much a sign of Mumbai's history as its decaying infrastructure - are set to go off the city's roads by August this year.

    A government resolution (GR) issued on Tuesday has reduced the maximum number of years a taxi can run on Mumbai roads from 25 years to 20. Since a large part of the city's 10,000-odd Fiat taxi fleet - also called Premier Padminis -- falls in this age bracket and the GR mandates that they be taken out of service before July 31, the days of the dove-tailed yellow-tops are numbered.

    The GR, however, has angered taxi unions as it, in just one stroke, shaves off five years from the earlier deadline - 2018 -- for getting rid of ageing taxis.

    The same GR has also fixed the maximum age of autos at 16, which means 8,000 of these three-wheelers could be headed for the scrap yard or Mumbai's fringe towns where vigilance is lax.

    Transport Commissioner V N More said the move is aimed at bringing in a younger fleet of cabs for commuters. "We completed the due process of sending the relevant papers to the chief minister's office on May 24.

    The government acted promptly and issued the GR," he said.

    Mumbai Taximen's Union chief A L Quadros, however, described the new GR as "needless pressure" on taximen, who are anyway struggling to cope with commuters' preference for newer, more modern taxis. "Why should the government do this when 1600 Premier Padmini taxis were voluntarily scrapped between January and May this year," he asked.

    According to RTO records, the Premier Padmini is based on the long-obsolete Italian Fiat 1100D model that has been relegated to the history books in Italy.

    Production of the 900 kg Padmini began in 1964 under a Fiat license, and only in 1973 were the vehicles, being built on the Premier Automobiles Limited production lines at Kurla, given the name Padmini.

    While the production of Padminis -- named after a 14th century Rajput princess -- was scaled down drastically, it was stopped only in 2008.(edit herbie - as per online records its 2000 - source wiki )

    "Many cabbies have replaced their cars with newer models despite some of them having been purchased as late as 2005-06. Hence, the number of Padminis taxis in Mumbai today is only around 10,000," he said.

    More said with the Hakim Committee recommendations for fare hike came the demand for better taxis. "Since the Hakim Committee plan for fare hike has been implemented, it would have been unfair to wait till 2018 for taxis' upgrade," he added.

    The hike implemented in October last year had raised fares by up to 40 per cent and it only aggravated commuters' anger over rickety, smelly Padmini taxis. "This is a good move by the government. None of these taxis are in good shape and they give a poor impression of the city. Many do not even have cabin lights," Nitin Dossa of the Western India Automobile Association said.

    While Quadros does not have figures of how many Padmini taxis will remain on Mumbai roads beyond the July 31 deadline, he reckons there will be very few left. "That really will be sad because these taxis were solid, durable, and required little maintenance unlike the lighter, modern cars of today," he said.

    SOURCE : Mumbaikars set to bid adieu to the iconic fiat taxi - daily.bhaskar.com

    SOURCE : Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis - Rediff.com Business

    some picture to feed our nostalgia...... ( IMAGES COURTESY REDIFF.COM )

    The black and yellow cabs, hired by millions of people in Mumbai for
    nearly half a century will fade away into history.
    The sturdy premier Padmini cabs, which complete 25 years, are now being phased
    out for new sleeker cars that adhere to Euro emission standards.

    Image: A driver waits for customers in front of an apartment building
    in his Premier Padmini taxi in Mumbai's
    Image: A driver waits for customers in his Premier Padmini taxi on
    Marine Drive in Mumbai.

    Mumbai's current taxi fleet has about 51,000 vehicles, of which it is
    estimated that around 8,000 vehicles are over 25 years old.

    The beleaguered company, however, stopped manufacturing in 2000.
    Premier cars became very popular in India as people preferred the
    sleek model to the bulkier Ambassador from Hindustan Motors.

    Image: Drivers and mechanics of Premier Padmini taxis gather
    together at a workshop in Mumbai.

    The vehicle quickly became the iconic workhorse in Mumbai's fleet of
    black and yellow taxis until economic liberalisation in the 1990s allowed
    different makes and models to be produced in India.

    Vinay, 30, a taxi driver, looks out from his Premier Padmini
    taxi as he waits at a signal during rush hour in Mumbai.​

    A Premier Padmini taxi travels along Marine Drive in Mumbai.​

    There has been a lot of debate over rise in pollution and environmental
    threats caused by these vehicles, but taxi chauffeurs refute this, saying
    that all taxis run on CNG or LNG.​

    Image: A de-registered Premier Padmini taxi is pictured covered
    in dust with love hearts etched on its windows inside a scrapyard in Mumbai.

    They reckon that the Fiat taxis are sturdier and safer compared to the
    Maruti Omni (which is the model most cabbies plan to buy to get back on the roads).
    The government move is to encourage fleet taxis, they point out.

    Image: A taxi driver takes an afternoon nap with his hand on the
    steering wheel of his Premier Padmini taxi in Mumbai.

    Image : ​
    A taxi driver takes an afternoon nap next to his Premier Padmini taxi
    in Mumbai.

    Image : A taxi driver sits inside his Permier Padmini taxi with his
    blue light switched on as he waits for customers in the rain near
    Mumbai's Chhatrapathi Shivaji railway station.

    Image : A taxi driver looks out of his Premier Padmini taxi while
    stuck in traffic in a slum in Mumbai.

    Image : A taxi driver sleeps on the boot of his Premier Padmini taxi
    at a taxi park in Mumbai.

    Image : A mechanic sits on a seat salvaged from a scrapped
    Premier Padmini taxi at a workshop in Mumbai.

    Image : A taxi driver inspects the engine of his Premier Padmini taxi
    at a taxi park in Mumbai.

    Image : Customers sit in the cramped backseat of a Premier Padmini
    taxi during rush hour in Mumbai.

    Image : A family looks out from a Premier Padmini taxi parked along
    a street in Mumbai.

    Image : A mechanic uses a wire brush to scrub the inside of a
    Premier Padmini taxi before it is refurbished at a taxi workshop
    in Mumbai.

    Image : A driver looks at his Premier Padmini taxi after its rear wheel
    got stuck in a pothole on a suburban road in Mumbai.

    Image :
    A mechanic salvages engine parts from a Premier Padmini
    which will be scrapped at a scrapyard in Mumbai.

    Image : A driver demonstrates the use of a manually operated
    fare meter on his Premier Padmini taxi in central Mumbai.

    Image : Premier Padmini taxis drive along a suburban street in Mumbai.

    Image : A mechanic pulls the door off a de-registered Premier Padmini
    taxi being taken apart at a scrapyard in Mumbai.

    Image : A taxi driver waits for customers in his Premier Padmini taxi
    at Marine Drive in Mumbai.

    Image : A mechanic sits in the boot of a Premier Padmini taxi as he
    tries to fix the vehicle's brake lights at a workshop in Mumbai.

    Image : A mechanic looks at the suspension of a Premier Padmini
    taxi near a workshop in Mumbai.

    Image : A man washes a Premier Padmini taxi at a taxi parking area
    in central Mumbai.

    Image : Scrapped fare meters from Premier Padmini taxis lie in a pile
    at a scrapyard in Mumbai.

    PART 1 - SOURCE : Mumbaikars set to bid adieu to the iconic fiat taxi - daily.bhaskar.com

    PART 2 - SOURCE : Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis - Rediff.com Business

    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
    Navneet, Raaz, prabhjot and 9 others like this.
  2. Tony

    Tony Esperto

    Kalamboli, Navi Mumbai
    Grande Punto 1.2
    The Premier Padmini is more safer that the latest Generatiion Cars,
    Y dont Govt allow to pump in New Engine in the padmini and run as the Historic Taxi from the Days of Bombay to Mumbai..
    As the Padmini should be well painted and clean inside and outside.. It will be a great Sight to See them running again....
    prabhjot likes this.
  3. Linear

    Linear Amatore

    Having owned one of these, it's really heartbreaking to see them disappear from the roads altogether.

    Just one correction. The Premier vehicles were initially marketed as Premier President for a short period. Later the name was changed to Padmini.

    Our first car was a 1973 Premier President. I learned to drive on that car.
    Raaz and prabhjot like this.
  4. prabhjot

    prabhjot Esperto

    delhi ncr

    FCA's Mr. Kevin Flynn ought to consider a company-sponsored funeral, a send-off ritual, as a public-relations exercize of the great and iconic kaali-peeli Fiat cabs of Mumbai, before the very last one disappears.

    Perhaps, use the occasion to also announce the withdrawal of FIAT from the Indian mass market altogether, in favour of that other desi-yet-global old brand JEEP. With Fiats only remaining as a seller of very-affordable european/italian-style+speed+heritage exotics (500, 500X, 124 Spider/Coupe, Abarths.)

    Some such imaginative PR exercize is called-for, imo, not just on the sentimental occassion of the disappearance of the Mumbai Fiat cabs, but also to face upto and communicate to the public the PAST/not-true-in-years sordid reality of the Premier group, the Kurla plant and the strikes etc (UNO fiasco) or the poor spares support reputation from the first-pre-tata-sales-jv days.

    FCA must think hard about fronting upto to this sentimental-yet-toxic legacy for the FIAT name in India (Premier automobiles days upto the Tata sales-service-jv.) Affirm the 'desi modernity' original and old credentials of both FIAT and JEEP in India by facing upto the toxic reputation legacy (uno bookings fiasco, palio spares, tata joint aftersales etc.)

    Thereby putting the 'indigineous' historical-credentials and legacy to use: it is a USP, after all, a mark of ditinction compared to ANY other firm/brands in India. Use the fact, by openly facing up to the toxic part of the reputation/legacy in the public mind. Do NOT brush it under the carpet, do not try-to-divert the perceptions away, instead. Move forward by mobilizing the very toxicity (reputation, perceptions) of the 'legacy'.
    gpunto75 likes this.

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