Blueback, a new company aiming to transform London’s fragmented £850 million private hire vehicle (or mini cab) market, has chosen Fiat Auto’s innovative Multipla six-seater mini-MPV 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, and will all be 1.9 JTD ELX versions. Blueback expects to be operating over 1000 vehicles within the next five years.
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."
Andy Rowe, sales director, Fiat Auto (UK) comments: "We are delighted that Blueback has chosen the award-winning Multipla to represent the company in its new operation in London. The initial list of vehicles evaluated by Blueback was considerable, and Multipla’s selection is a terrific endorsement of the product and represents a recognition that it’s a serious proposition in business sales terms."
Multipla is available throughout Fiat Auto’s UK dealer network in either petrol or diesel versions, in two levels of trim, together with a host of dedicated accessories. Like all Fiat cars, Multipla has the added advantage of a comprehensive three-year warranty and roadside service package.
Prices start from £12,995 on the road.Published 27 September 2003